Here are the words my friends have chosen, in no particular order. Their names (or links) are not given to protect the innocently hopeful from recriminations next December, should you check up on them.
In late December when I was thinking about the possibility of making a resolution I didn’t have to think very hard. Mine is Sweeten Up, not nearly as charming as those other words, but mine was born out of conviction one crabby day and not dreamed up for the spirit of New Year’s. I am not going to tell you about how bad I can be or the dour thoughts I might have just because I am a perfectionist in recovery and have a critical analytic tendency at times when I should be warmer and fuzzier. Such as now, perhaps. The great mystery is that many people don’t seem to realize this: I am often called sweet (unlikely), kind (humphh), and patient (now, that’s true, usually). But inside myself I have some very crabby tendencies which I remember being pointed out to me as a child. Ask my brothers. My self-perception seems to be different than my public persona and I would like to be closer to the misconceptions that people have, up until it gets insipid. I still want to be Interesting.
Now, Dorothy Parker was Interesting, and as a teenager she was sort of a hero of mine until I learned enough about her to know that she wasn’t a good role model. Dorothy Parker is famous for going to dinner parties with important and fascinating people and making witty, insightful comments that made everyone laugh and often made it into the newspapers. Everyone was amused except the victim who was flayed. Why did people keep inviting her to their dinner parties? She would be fun to eavesdrop on but not to be seated by at dinner. Not safe.
I read a biography of Dorothy Parker and decided her wit came at too high a price, that of friendship and trust. Who wants to be close to someone who might ridicule you or mock you publicly? Even privately? Only another porcupine.
Therefore, my note to self is “Sweeten Up”. Not anything poetic or artful, just a favor to myself and the world around me. And I don’t want it to be a word that is just talk, but as Eliza Doolittle said,
Words, words, words! I’m so sick of words! Never do I ever want to hear another word. There isn’t one I haven’t heard. Show me!
Eliza Doolittle, My Fair Lady
Well, here goes. I hope that thinking it and wanting it and saying it will make it happen. And if I flourish and grow and shine and grow in the process, so much the better.