It’s funny how my yearly word always seems to come to me, seemingly out of nowhere.
I had no idea what my word would be this year. For me, 2016 was a fairly good year. There was the garbage fire that was the presidential election, but overall, it was a year in which I have more positive than negative memories.
I made some goals for 2017, but those are all tasks to mark off. No fast food! Get a tattoo! Read some classic novels!
My yearly word is different. It’s about the way I want to feel throughout the year and how I want to challenge myself.
But I didn’t really know how I wanted to challenge myself in 2017. How did I want to feel this year? Passionate, fulfilled, satisfied, loved, secure… these are all words I wrote down while brainstorming.
And then the word came to me, when looking at the synonyms for a different word, and it fit so perfectly.
It means to lay open, to uncover, to present to view, to reveal, to unmask, to display.
It means to stop hiding behind the stories I tell myself of why I am not good enough or smart enough or pretty enough or bold enough to make my biggest dreams come true.
It means to stop letting my social anxiety and introversion and high sensitivity keep me from trying new things and opening up.
It means to expose myself in all the ways I need to be exposed. To expose my writing to the world. To expose my true self to the men I date. To expose my feelings about politics and racism and discrimination to people, even when it feels uncomfortable. To expose myself to situations where I might feel vulnerable or scared or uncomfortable so I can open myself up to opportunities I don’t typically explore.
Expose is about letting myself be open to what’s next, to reveal my truest self even when it’s scary.
And, listen, I will continue to be my introverted, quiet self. It’s not about putting myself in situations that will only exacerbate my social anxiety or overstimulate me. I’m not sitting here, telling myself I need to get out more and stop hiding at home. I am still going to hide at home when I need to. I know what situations are terror on my nervous system and what situations aren’t. A friend hosting a get-together with a bunch of people I don’t know? Nope, that’s not a good place for me to be. A friend invites me and a couple other people out to brunch or to see a movie? Yeah, that’s a situation I know I can handle and I’m hiding behind my social anxiety when I turn them down.
In 2017, I want to live a bit more boldly than I have ever lived before. I want to take more risks and expose my heart out into the world. I want my writing published in more places than just my blog. I want to be vocal about what I believe in. I want to fall in love and take a chance with my heart.
In 2017, I want to be exposed.