What are the words that warm your heart? The ones that when you hear them make you go as gooey as a melty marshmallow?
While this list started off tricky for me, I soon warmed up to it and it wasn’t long before I was rapid-firing words onto the page. For some words, it’s what they represent that makes me feel toasty, others it’s the memories attached to them and some it’s just the sound of the word itself.
What do you think of my list? Let me know, I want to hear from you!
44/52: ‘LIST THE WORDS THAT WARM YOUR SPIRIT’
1. Tom Bombadil
Not only do these words make your tongue leap and bound between your teeth, it also stands for one of my favourite characters in literary history. Sadly, but understandably, left out of the film versions, Tom Bombadil is the spirit of the English countryside personified in the Lord of the Rings books. Just hearing his name makes me want to sing ‘Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!’
This word marks the start of so many friendships, memories and adventures. If you haven’t said this word to anyone yet today, now’s your chance! Bonus points if it’s someone you don’t know.
Who knew the word for a inconspicuous conspiracy-centred creature could be used as a term of endearment? My family’s way of showing affection has always been a bit weird so I guess it makes sense.
This word is our way of taking each others’ bad moods lightly because, quite frankly, we’ve had a lot to cause a bad mood over the last few years. So when my sister or my mum call me a ‘sassy sasquatch’ it means, I see your pain and I know there’s more going on under the surface, but bloody reign it in!
All of the love and awareness in just that one word makes me grateful for the family that I do have, rather than focusing on what I’ve lost.
10. 別腹 Betsubara
This Japanese term for ‘separate stomach’ was one of the first phrases I learnt when I moved over there. It literally means that even though you were full from your main dish, you have room for dessert. The reason I learned this phrase so quickly is due to the the excess of kindness I experienced- often shown by friends and families force-feeding me ice cream and chocolate- not that I’m complaining.
12. Thank You
The relief that this word brings after every completed essay is something I’m looking forward to as I go ahead with my Masters. The stress that comes before it is not.
14. Dungeons & Dragons
Mini-Jess in high school always wanted to try this game, but after the weird stigmas that she already faced from playing video games she shieded away from it. A few years later she bloomed into the absolute legend that she is now, became surrounded by some amazing people and started her first campaign.
Two years on and I’m still playing (two campaigns now!) The solidarity and friendship that this brought me has been phenomenal and I’m so happy I started it. Being able to jump out of reality and check-in to the absolutely insane worlds that my friends and I have built together is a privilege. So shout out to all my amazing D&D friends; especially Sam for reaching out and Matt for being my original and ever-amazing DM.
This prickly, berry-bearing tree has grown in my garden since forever. I only learnt its name recently though, on a walk with Ste as we (like an old married couple) debated whether a hedge we passed was a Rowan or a Hawthorn.
17. New Personal Best
Just the sound of this word sounds mystical and magical. Maybe it’s on the list because it’s nearly Halloween?
20. あさぎり町 Asagiri Town
My home of two years and a permanent resident in my heart ever since. Hearing the words ‘Asagiri Town’ (which literally means ‘morning mist town) sky-rockets me back to Mt. Takayama’s peak at sunrise, looking out across the entire town. The beauty of the place and the people will warm my spirit for as long as I’m alive.
24. Bubble Bath
The plosive ‘b’ sounds are always fun to pronounce and this word lets you do it twice!
The benefits I feel from a long, hot bubble bath are unreal. This remains one of my top methods of self-care, so if you’re feeling stressed out today get yourself in the bath!
My sister has this thing where she randomly finds words, likes the sound of them and uses them in every other sentence. This has been one of her recent word-crazes and so the thought of it makes me think of her, how awesome she is and how lucky I am to have her!
My long-term goal is to go vegan. I’ve been veggie since I was 15 years old and managed to keep it up even in the meat-and-fish-loving Japanese countryside!
Now that I’m back in the UK, where ethical living is more accessible- I don’t really have any excuses. I think it’s a good sign that just the word ‘vegan’ heats me up and gets me excited to start.
There’s a very specific scene in ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ where the Baudelaire children find themselves in ever-worsening circumstances. Even in this hopeless situation, in a rickety, leaky room they innovate using sheets and lighting to create their own sanctuary from the darkness around them.
This scene really hit me. Since I first watched the film as a kid, I still think about it often. I even think it could’ve been the start of my interest in place and cognition.
In every troubling situation I’ve found myself in since watching that scene; from a beautiful but sometimes lonely house in the mountains to a dystopian, cluttered shared bedroom, I always create a sanctuary for myself. It grounds me and makes me feel safe.
I think you can find sanctuary in a person too, what do you think?
Fitness has been an evolving part of my life for the last few years now. If you’ve read my Golden Triangle posts, you’ll know the benefits that I see fitness as having and you’ll understand why it’s on the list.
My dad’s original company name- Cognitive Solutions, my interest in language, the way we think and using language to overcome trauma and improve mental health; these are the main reasons that this word makes the list.
You know those cat beds that hand on the radiator? Well, we bought one and didn’t know what it was called (cat-radiator-bed didn’t seem right) and so the word papoose came into use. We’d sing it to the cats when they jumped into it and the word has a lot of memories of me and my family watching films or chilling out together with the pets.
It’s only after I researched the word for this article that I found out its history. I decided to keep it in the list to inform people about it as I think some people use the word for ‘baby carrier’.
The word originates from Native American usage and it’s disputed how it was used, some people saying it began as a term of endearment for infants. The murkiness comes in when we learn that it was a term used by colonisers when listing deaths caused by the genocide of Native American people.
For obvious reasons, the word can be quite a problematic one. I didn’t know the meaning of the word until now and there are always going to be things that we don’t know. The important thing is to educate ourselves as best we can and share our knowledge!
Even hearing or seeing this word out of context makes me feel further from danger than before I read it. Safety for me means having a space to be myself without judgement, to know that nothing bad is going to happen in that space and that I have room to grow at my own pace.
50. ジェシカ先生 Jessica-Sensei
What I’d give to hear this again. I miss my students from Japan so so much. I hope I’ll get to go back home soon and see how they’re doing.
I love the word crazy. This word has so many meanings and connotations, both good and bad. I love this word because it makes me think of difference, energy and a confidence to be yourself. I think everyone is crazy, just at different times, so why be ashamed of it?
Gothic is a word that gets those jet black coals in the furness of my heart spluttering with heat. I’m all about the Gothic and how it operates, what it teaches us about ourselves and how we can use it to heal. I’m currently studying the Gothic and it’s relation to illness for my Masters and so far so good!
As I’m going on with this list challenge, I’m still enjoying it and definitely feeling the benefit. It’s one more thing on my weekly goals that I can look forward to ticking off! Have you tried any of the lists so far? Which ones?