The Year I Lost My Words

Word of the Year.

It’s been a tradition of mine the last few years. Choosing a word is a great way to select a focus point for that year. I’ve never liked New Year’s Resolutions, mostly because I just never seemed to be able to stick to them. But to choose a word to be mindful of throughout the year worked really well for me.
Last year I chose Writing as my word for 2020. I felt very motivated and ready for a year of writing, but then I got pregnant and felt so sick all of the time. And on top of that, Corona hit us, and when I thought that all of that would give me lots of time to work creatively and write lots and lots, the complete opposite happened. With the extreme lack of energy, traveling, and creative input of the outside world, I lost my words.
While watching the world getting sick and going mad while going through so many changes, I had a million thoughts going through my mind, but I was utterly unable to get them down on paper or screen. I tried again and again, but the few words I got out wouldn’t form into sentences. I would sit there and try until I got so discouraged that I gave up and went to do something else.
I’ve always known that writing has been a critical factor in my mental health, but I never knew just how much before I couldn’t write at all. It made me feel lost. I was already going through so many changes
that I didn’t quite feel like myself. I got worried, sad, and confused.

Who was I without my words?

I pondered over this while the world moved on. The virus kept spreading, my body kept changing, and the craziness of the world seemed to be escalating, and the words just wouldn’t come.
So, I decided to give my mind a break. I didn’t push the writing. I didn’t journal. I left my words alone and enjoyed other people’s words instead. For months I read and listened more than I usually do. I devoured fiction. Words upon words flowed through me as the world moved forward.

And then came October 24th, and little baby Noelle came into our lives.
The life we knew changed as we fell headfirst in love and into the baby bubble, surrounded by thick postpartum fog. Writing was the last thing on my mind, and I didn’t find much time for reading either.
But then something happened. Little Noelle had a phase where she decided she didn’t want to sleep at night, just take really short naps. And as I sat up at night while the rest of the house was sleeping, I had a lot of thoughts running through my mind. So I found an unused notebook, and on the first page, I wrote: “While You Weren’t Sleeping.”

I filled it with brain dump and poems about all of the thoughts, worries, and frustrations that my tired, sleep-deprived brain and body felt. And through all those nights, and all those tears. I found my love for words coming back. They started coming more quickly and more frequently, and the more I wrote, the more I started feeling like myself once again.

I still struggle a bit with getting started. Just this post had its first sentence written and erased about thirty times before I was able to keep going, but it’s progress!
I was worried that I’d lost my words forever, but they’re still here. I was waiting for them to find their way back to me, but I had to find them instead.
And now I find them everywhere, little by little.

Happy New Year! Happy New Writing!

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