The Word for the Year: Denial

“Forever is composed of nows.”  ~Emily Dickinson

Denial has saved me this 2010. Denial is my word for 2010.

Let’s be clear. I use denial for good. I use it to protect myself and some important people from thinking too much: thinking about pain, thinking about loss, thinking about the possibility of an empty or broken future.

2010 has been a year of treading water in my personal life. You can ask me questions, but I will usually only be able to answer you with a “fill-in-the-blank.”

Denial has allowed me to be at peace in uncertainty. To ride the waves of day-to-day without being swallowed by the stress of imagined scenarios.

Jack Cheng makes an excellent case for good denial. The point he makes — that “good denial doesn’t know well enough to realize what the obstacles are…” — is the reason Colin and I made many of the big life choices that we have made.

Maybe you could also call it optimistic naivete? But I wouldn’t say  I was naive about these choices. We did our research and listened to the experts.

I think it was more that in order to be visionary, you have to have a certain kind of tunnel vision. You have to see the extraordinary opportunities attached to risks, without focusing on the possibilities of dire consequences.

Maybe that is faith? Or a bit of madness?

For me, though, it plays out in daily life as a kind of simple sweet denial. I refute the negative connotations of the word and simple lay back against the relief it has given me.

For 2011, I choose the word awakening. The year to shake off of our dreams and show them the world is waiting for them.

This post is part of a daily writing project called #reverb10. Find out more & join in this creative exercise here.

  3 comments for “The Word for the Year: Denial

  1. Colin
    December 3, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Hear, Hear! Denial is an ongoing theme in my life. It’s served me well so far. Awakening? Nah – I’d rather sleep in, embraced in the ever loving arms of denial.

    • December 3, 2010 at 3:23 pm

      I wouldn’t mind you sleeping in… and a quiet house with a spare hour (not at 5 a.m.) to write before the noise starts. That would be good. (-:

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