Yes, I live out in the country now on three acres. Yes, I should put some of that space to good use. Yes, I'm an advocate for organic produce because it tastes better and is safer for my family. (Don't believe me? Click here and watch.) Yes, I realize it's more expensive. And no, after purchasing supplies for my own garden, I don't think it will be a big money saver. But my motivations are bigger.
A lifetime ago, I was married at 20 and living in my first apartment. I was hopelessly naïve and nesting for the first time in my life. I wanted to emulate my mother's garden to bring a little touch of home to this new chapter and to force myself to grow up a bit. Soon enough, my patio was an oasis. Hanging vines and ferns, hibiscus trees, creeping jenny, maui ixora, moss roses, lantana, and white-picket fence planters and shelves all filled this third-floor, concrete box I called home. I spent mornings out there watering, smiling, squealing at the nests in the hanging ferns, and loving life. When I was finished watering, I'd head to the kitchen, prepare an elaborate breakfast, then take it outside to enjoy the view. It was my escape. It was how I centered myself each day. It didn't take long to realize how much I would need to lean on the clarity and cheerfulness my little oasis provided.
As the months turned into years, and the issues started to pile up, my garden began to wither away. The day I realized the marriage was over, I escaped to my little nest and stared at all the brown. I had let it all die. It wasn't a conscious avoidance. Little by little, I had given up hope and stopped caring. And one day everything was dead- my hopes, my dreams, my life's purpose, and my garden.
The next few months I had fooled myself into thinking I was now myself more than ever before. Of course, that all came crashing down soon thereafter. And I became bitter. I cursed myself for all my past decisions and all my wasted years. I couldn't handle the sudden change, so I folded inward. On the outside, I could put on a show. But those who knew my heart saw what I had turned into and there wasn't anything anyone could do to fix it for me.
I couldn't function. I didn't even take care of my dog very well so my Mom took him to live with my parents. There he stayed until the end of his little life. And the garden? Forget about it. My life revolved around my nights, not my mornings.
I always felt the urge to find somewhere to settle and nest again, but I had lost my desire to trust. Not only did I stop admiring beautiful gardens in the multi-million dollar estates I worked in, or the elaborate floral arrangements in the luxury hotels I visited (I was a model, not a hooker- just clarifying), but I would cringe at the thought of them, of taking care of them, of taking care of someone else, and for what? It all dies.
This is not something I've ever discussed with anyone. It's really a small symptom of my bigger fears. But every time I had the desire to plant something in the ground, I retreated. Then in February of last year, I dipped my toes in the water. My husband and I built a retaining wall for a garden. As soon as it was done, I admired it for a few days and retreated once again. It seems so silly. I don't think I even realized what my hesitation was until recently. But if it's silly, then it won't be so bad to overcome.
Then I took one of those ridiculous personality tests on facebook. You know, the ones that tell us that we have the biggest hearts, the most intelligent point of view, eyes that twinkle, and a tough personality, which always conclude with some message that if anyone doesn't notice all this about myself and much, much more than I should kick their ungrateful bums to the curb. Instead, I read my following depiction (as I shared in The Spontaneous Idealist):
However, they quickly become bored when things repeat themselves and too much detailed work and care is required. Their creativity, their imaginativeness and their originality become most noticeable when developing new projects and ideas- then they leave the meticulous implementation of the whole to others.
Oh. Snap, err, slap in the face. That's a back-handed compliment attempt if I've ever seen one (which I have, don't you worry). I'm a dreamer, not a doer. I have great ideas but no work ethic. I never finish anything, instead I pawn it off on someone else. That's quite an exaggeration, but there is some truth to it and I'm not going to let that stand anymore.
So, I pulled weeds for days, planned for several more days, and planted for even a few more, and am pleased to say that things are actually growing. I'm holding myself accountable as my own goalkeeper. As for the empty frames hung all over the house? I filled them. The counter full of "someday/just in case crafts"? I've narrowed it down to two- stuff for the garden and garments I need to repair. We don't do crafts. We go outside and play. (Although this summer I will have to actually plan some activities and will most likely resort to a few crafts.) I still haven't had friends over for dinner, but we did have our group from church over to do our weekly lesson. My husband and I both cooked. And I think we had a great breakthrough that night within our group. I'm making progress and always leaving room for error. I'm on the move.
|First there was this- February 2013|
|Then over a year of this.|
|Then in March, this happened.|
|Finally, in April.|
|And now, this.|