As a society, I think we are this close to overdoing the phrase “there are no words.” Since that saying bugs me, I have started making up my own words, to prove to that yes, indeed, there are words, but you gotta make ‘em up.
Take parenting. It’s so complex and life-altering to parent. If you say, “it’s wonderful,” you sound like a Pollyanna D-bag who is hopped up on prescription drugs. Because, while it is often wonderful, that’s a shallow description of something that, oh so often, isn’t all that wonderful. (See, bleeding nipples, being up all night, changing diapers after your son binges on black olives).
On the other hand, if you say, “it blows chunks to be a parent,” that’s also one-dimensional because it doesn’t cover the high of seeing your child learn the words to a Willie Nelson song (“Faded Love”) or recognize Costco from the highway.
So, I made up a new adjective:
Harderful: adj., an experience that is both intensely wonderful in the deepest and most fundamentally fulfilling ways, but also harder than you ever expected as the experience required of you more guts, stamina, and sheer willpower than you knew you possessed.
So parenting? It’s really effing harderful. (Also harderful: travel to India, recovery from addiction, law school.)
While it’s certainly possible there is a bona fide Queen’s English word that is a synonym for harderful, I haven’t met that word yet, and harderful is starting to stick. I am going to talk to the Microsoft, Apple, and Instagram people about getting it added to the lexicon so your auto-correct won’t turn it into “harder ful” (because that’s such a great and oft-used phrase).
To be sure, there are experiences that are purely wonderful. I wrote about a recent one here on the Huffington Post about a grace-filled moment with my daughter during her abortive first dance recital.
And, yes, there are experiences that just blow chunks. I wrote about one here, and here, and here. Just last night, I snuggled into my bed alone since Jeff’s out of town. At midnight, Sadie pole-vaulted herself on top of me and proceeded to scissor kick me all night long. Except for when she was donkey-kicking Simon, who joined the calisthenics around 1:30 AM. It was like sleeping with two feral ferrets, kicking, clawing and grunting their way through my REM cycles. It sucked a whole lot, but also? It was sort of wonderful in that sleep-deprived, someone-get-me-some-effing-personal-space-pronto sort of way.
You know. It was harderful.