Recently I caught the movie Eat Pray Love playing on TV and decided to watch it, yet again. I had seen it a couple of times before, and I love it; of course, I love the book more, but I think they did a pretty good job with the movie version. So it’s one of those movies I could probably watch 100 times because every time I do, I re-discover something in it. What I mean is, something that even though I had previously watched, it stayed in the background and didn’t particularly grabbed my attention at the time, but when revisited totally stands out and moves me.
This time, the thing that stood out and made me ponder was a scene in which Liz Gilbert (portrayed by beautiful Julia Roberts) is eating out with her friends in Rome, and one of them claims every city has a word, getting everyone to think about the word for some of the biggest cities in the world (they decide stuffy for London, ambition for NY, conform for Stockholm, and sex for Rome). Then one of the friends asks Liz what’s her word, saying she can’t figure it out, and Liz comes back with a list of words about her roles (wife, girlfriend, daughter, writer) before deciding she doesn’t have a word, to which her friend responds “maybe you are a woman in search of a word.” And that’s exactly what I started thinking about, my own word.
I have always had a fascination with words that goes beyond average. Not only do I love reading them, and evidently, even writing them, but I am constantly seeking for the “right” words to express myself. Unfortunately I also do it while I talk, and I do it out loud, which makes me a real chatty Cathy, and often prompts this reaction in people: “Don’t you ever just shut up?” But let me get back to the point before I prompt that very same reaction in you readers as well! So, I love words, and Julia Roberts got me thinking about what’s my word.
The first word that came to my mind as a possible answer was ‘seek’. It feels like I am always seeking, searching, looking for something, from the right words to a fab new restaurant to my purpose in life. I am always seeking. ‘Seek’ could very well be my word… or so I thought for about sixty seconds. Then the word started to feel reductive and restrictive, and I realized it wasn’t the word that was the problem. Yes, I am seeker; yes, it is very much a fitting word for me; but that’s not all I am, I am so much more, I am 54,000 things. The idea of having only one word to define me is what truly felt constricted. We are all such complex beings, so multidimensional, that one word can’t even begin to describe us. Ironically, we often insist on using just one word to label people, “right”, “wrong”, “gay”, “republican”, “bitch”, reducing them to a tiny and narrow definition that keeps us from recognizing and enjoying everything else they have to offer.
After realizing this, I decided not to do such a disservice to myself by picking a label and sticking to it. First of all, because I don’t think I could stick to it even if I wanted to. I will continue evolving as a person, and that means the words fitting me will evolve too. Then, even if I find a word or bunch of words that can fit me all throughout my life, I hope to always find more words along the way. I hope to become more. My goal by the end of my life is to have gathered a large collection of words, and I hope to have as many of the type of words that would make up for a nice obituary.
So there you go, that’s my answer, I don’t have a word… I have many words! Some might say too many, but that’s not stopping me! I plan on seeking and finding and collecting many more words in my lifetime. Now, what’s in your own personal collection of words?