I had a high school English teacher that was young, cute and desperate to do well in what I’m pretty sure was her first class as a fully-fledged teacher. She really wanted to engage us – a bunch of hormone-filled fifteen-year-olds who would rather sit on the grass and play guitar than read Sophocles, Shakespeare, or Steinbeck. In retrospect, her determination was admirable and her aspirations audacious; her first vocabulary test had an extra credit word that stuck with me through the years – onomatopoeia.
Her examples were straight out of the Batman TV Series – Boom! Splat! Crash! Kablam! (Somehow, all the words I can think of demand an exclamation point after them.) I think this was the blossoming of my inner word nerd. Beyond those cartoonish examples, I realized words are poetic, words have impact, words can be chosen to hurt or heal, hinder or help, injure or inspire. Holy Moley, Batman, my words could mean something!
With that as predicate to this month’s blog, I’ll offer my recent onomatopoetic observations.
July 1st was my seven-year anniversary of leaving the corporate world.
That seems like a very long time and a very short time, all at the same time. There have been a lot of “wow” moments over those years. Wow, I’m now a coach. Wow, I’m going to have two (!) daughters-in-law. Wow, I’ve been published in an award-winning anthology. Wow, I’m a breast cancer survivor. The wows keep coming and I am grateful for the life I’ve built.
I didn’t blog in June. Partly because I was recovering from my youngest son’s wedding – watching their exchange of vows was a beautiful thing, as was being with family for the first time since the pandemic. And partly because I had vowed after my last blog to only write when I had something positive to offer. When I get in these moods, it’s hard to pull out, especially given our current state of the world. I can talk myself into a dark corner and not want to emerge.
Then, I read a quote that said the one person we will have the most conversations with in our life is ourselves. Not our parents, children, partner or friends. We will talk to ourselves more than anyone else.
And what am I saying to myself? Not a lot of positive messages, if I’m honest. My inner critics rage at me; You’re not good enough. You can’t do that, you’ll fail. Don’t try, people will judge you. On and on, until I begin to believe those words; words that I would never say to others (or if I did, I wouldn’t have many friends!)
So, I took a vow to be kinder to myself, more accepting, more compassionate. Deep breath . . . Ahhhh.
But then, for all my seeking grace, the gut-punch of the Supreme Court decision hit hard. Argh. Ack. Kapow.
Now, most conversations with my coaching clients and friends seem to start with some variation of “The world is hard right now.”
How do I bounce back?
My first thought was to channel the toy punching bags with sand in the bottom. Bop! You’d hit them, they’d fall back and then bounce right back. That felt too stuck. I needed action.
How about Wile E. Coyote? I always admired his persistence in trying to capture the Roadrunner. Even getting squashed by an anvil didn’t deter him. Splat! (For those cartoon nerds out there, apparently the E stands for Ethelbert, did you know that? That’s what writing a blog does for me. I feel compelled to research things like a cartoon character’s middle name . . .) The court ruling surely felt like an anvil landing on my heart. Yet, Wile E. never won. That was too pessimistic for me.
How about Tigger the Tiger? He just kept going no matter what. Boing! Boing! Boing!
Then, yesterday I was standing in my driveway and a woman walked by. (I have a lot of walkers cut through my yard, so this is not unusual.) She stopped and said, “I love your yard signs. I am a woman of like mind and your front yard reminds me to not lose hope.” Gulp. Awww. Hmmm.
And I thought they were just silly signs with words.