Release: My word for 2013

In past years, I’ve had to constantly tumble ideas for a “word of the year” around in my head, discovering over time which are nicked or just don’t fit right in the palm of my hand, discarding those until I find the one smooth encapsulation of my heart’s desire for the next 365 days.

This year, it came to me as sudden and undeniable as a lightening bolt:  RELEASE.

It wasn’t just a goal; it’s permission. Permission to let go and give up the burden of too much angst and so many expectations, permission to be whoever I am without all that. I discovered in 2012 that my own highly internal fears and expectations can be a huge stumbling block, especially when paired with any past commitments, any false starts or half-completed plans. It’s like everything that I didn’t do or complete gangs up on me to prevent me from getting anything further done.

Or it did. Until I said, “No more” and offered myself release. And I started with this unassuming hardcover sketchbook.

Word of 2013: RELEASE

Bought in 2008, it was originally a lovely commitment to my art practice and sketching. And a lot of its pages got used up for that (like here and here). Some also were used for notes when nothing else was at hand, for testing out new markers and countless other tasks. And a good 20 or so pages were still blank, though scattered throughout the book. The combination of those remaining pages and the previous pages filled up with lists unfinished and plans unaccomplished was no longer a source of inspiration or potential, it was just dragging me down.

So, I tore out every single page. I made a small pile of blank pages to use in some other function, followed by a smaller stack of pages to keep. The rest, I crumpled up and took outside:

Journal pages before the fire& then I took some old journal pages outside to burn...










I tossed a match in, drank a beer and wished myself a happier, lighter new year. In a word, it was cathartic.

I used what was left–the covers and binding–to journal about the experience:

Word of 2013: RELEASE

Word of 2013: RELEASE

I even included photos of the fire. And a quote from Susan Wooldridge I’d read only the day before:

Word of 2013: RELEASE

The final page was pretty much the best advice I had to give myself about how to make my life better, how to let RELEASE take me where I know I want to go, drilling home the lessons I need to be that person. Including this:

Ask, “Will this make me a better artist? web designer? friend? sister? wife?” If not, you just don’t need it, tadpole.

I expect this is a refrain I’ll be learning over and over in 2013. I hope to be patient with myself and, eventually, proud of the process and progress both. I’m glad to be back in this space, however, and hope it will be fruitful for my journey.

(NOTE:  Evidently, I haven’t blogged most of my words of the year, but I do have an entry about 2009′s word, if’n you’re curious.)

Thanks for reading!

Published in journal, quotes on Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Tags:  , , , ,


  1. Tuesday, January 1, 2013, at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    The project and the sentiment are both beautiful.

  2. Tuesday, January 1, 2013, at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    Okay, there is nothing better–in my mind, right now–than posting to my blog for the first time in 18 months and, honest-to-goodness minutes later, having my first comment. Jen, you’re my hero. Thank you for reading and commenting :D :D :D

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