I grew up with two childhood secrets. The incidental being that wooflesnapper was our childhood nonsense word for fart; the more damaging being my childhood sexual abuse. Neither secret helped with the typical childhood quest of cool-ness or, at the very least, being like everyone else.
Luckily other kids were quick to educate my brothers and me. We soon graduated to using correct colloquial terminology for everything fart related. Phew. Yet wooflesnapper was just too good a word to lose altogether. It stuck around (lingered!) and evolved into my shorthand for the challenges in life. Wooflesnappers became a way of blowing raspberries at life’s little irritations; an adjective for turning things on their head.
I’d inadvertently discovered the power of terminology.
By re-defining the smaller daily challenges of life into wooflesnappers, they lost power, revealed opportunities and showcased comical, ridiculous elements. In short, more often than not these irritations re-framed as a wooflesnapper would make me smile.
As with all good nonsense words you can choose what you want it to be, with no need for fixed definition. Over the years, my wooflesnapper lexicon evolved and it became the name of my little creative space on the internet and later a book to help others.
Fittingly, wooflesnapper helped turn one of the biggest of my life challenges, PTSD, around. In recovering from the ‘illness that got in the way’ wooflesnapper.com was an essential tool in defeating the big, scary demons resulting from that other, darker childhood secret. It was a safe space to try out my new voice, albeit in tiny ways. I learnt that you cannot focus solely on the light to obliterate the shadow. Ignoring the shadow doesn’t work either. However, honouring your whole-ness, even the wounds you wish had never happened, will show you the way through.
Wooflesnapper is now a long way from a fart (!) and I love that the word has morphed from innocuous, silly childhood origins into such a powerful instrument for healing.