It started as a goof. I saw the photo on Facebook (posted by Peritronia Espinel): a New Year’s street banner, photographed from the back so that “2019” reads as “eros.”
I shared the on Facebook with a little blurb saying I’d been pondering my Word of the Year — maybe this was it!
I had, indeed, been pondering a word for the year, something I’ve done for the past five years or so. But I’d been kicking around words like “attention” and “convergence.”
“Eros” was not even in the ballpark of my aspirations for the new year.
Let me be perfectly clear: I have been single, unattached, footloose and fancy free, an independent woman for at least eight years. So long, in fact, that I’ve begun to think of myself as The Accidental Celibate.
I say “accidental” because I didn’t make a deliberate choice to become celibate. For several years I was just so focused on healing from chronic pain — a task I firmly believed I needed to do on my own, unpartnered — that a relationship was not an option. Like many women, I have a tendency to lose myself in a relationship, usually to my own detriment. Given my personal history, I just didn’t trust myself to choose someone who would be the kind of partner I needed.
And on some fundamental level, I understood that the lack of reciprocity in my relationships was manifesting through my body, and I knew that recovering from chronic illness would require putting all my energy into myself.
Then, as I was pulling myself out of my health morass but still floundering about, trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing with the rest of my life, where I was going to live and how I was going to make a living, I set an intention: that I was going to simply pay attention to whatever caught my eye, my mind, my curiosity, and follow that.
So I did and found that when I followed the things that captured my attention, my creativity and productivity flourished.
And that photo, that word, had captured my attention. So I followed it. I googled “eros” and after much mucking about with Eros and Psyche and romantic love, I also found lots of interesting (though often painfully jargon-ridden) material on Freud’s notions of Eros and Thanatos, on Jung’s work with Eros as the divine feminine (paired or juxtaposed with the male-centric Logos), in Marcuse’s reframing of Freudian eros for mid-20th century Marxism.
Oh dear. I had fallen down a rabbit hole, and just as I was about to declare TMI, I found this:
“In essence, Jung’s concept of eros is not dissimilar to the Platonic one. Eros is ultimately the desire for wholeness, and although it may initially take the form of passionate love, it is more truly a desire for ‘psychic relatedness’, a desire for interconnection and interaction with other sentient beings.”1
Ah. Now that changes everything.
A desire for wholeness? Check. Psychic relatedness? For sure. Interconnection and interaction with other sentient beings? Bring it on.
And so, despite my initial resistance, I am choosing eros as my Word-of-the-Year.
But just to be clear: I am reclaiming eros because I want to fall in love again — not with a single person, a life partner — but with the world.
So, I’m throwing it out there:
World, I’m ready to fall in love with you.
I can’t wait to see what happens next!