Allergies and gardening

Today my morning began with an allergy fit. My eyes were on fire, my nose a faucet. 

Temporarily the symptoms subsided providing me with enough time to sqeeze into my spanx and get to church 10 minutes late.

After our usual grocery-shoping-post-church ritual, I watched a handful of videos on no-dig gardening. Last year I did used the lasagna garden technique. This year I'll do the same but now I know more and will learn from my mistakes. I'll also implement some things I learned today through the videos. 

There was one garderner on the youtube channel that gardened, and walked through her garden, barefoot. I like that about her. I also liked that she had a calming voice. I hope to have a garden like her some day. I subscribed to her channel. 

My allaergies have continued to be a pest today. I will get to the bottom of this. For now, I'm going to enjoy some hot chocolate in my pj's and watch a movie.

Stand me up

I waited for you all day. You didn't show. I cried. 

I looked out the living room window towards the street in the direction you would've been coming from. The first hundred times I looked it was light out. Now it's dark and I've given up.

I tried calling you. You didn't answer. I'm not sure if I'm more scared to have you answer and say something happened or for you to say nothing happened at all.  

I was excited to see you. I'm wearing something I feel pretty in. I did my hair.

I'm furious at you but I'm sure if more at you or myself.

Why do you do this to me? Why do I keep letting you?

I know I deserve better than you. I know you'd disagree. I think that's why you take advantage of me. But I know there's someone out there who would never stand me up like you do.

2 years, today

2 years ago today, I arrived at the hospital, like I had for the last 3 weeks, knowing the end was near.

I walked into my mom’s room where she laid in the same position as the day before, with her eyes closed, breathing heavily. Her medication was on it's highest dosage, locked in a clear plastic box just in case anyone felt the need to steal. 

Jimmy, her fiance, had his head buried in a book. At the time I was annoyed for this. Now, I understand his need to escape the pain.

Bunches of flowers were withered, bags of junk food and bottled war half emptied throughout.

The room smelled of mom, the lotion she was known for, something like exotic coconut.  

The blinds were open, shining natural light onto mom, casting long dark shadows beyond her body. 

A pack n' play was floated around the family room the babies to nap in while we stayed day and night at the hospital watching, waiting, hoping, sometimes praying. 

Like I had researched online after the hospice nurse alerted us, her feet showed signs of mottling. Her skin was blotchy with tones of gray telling me that her heart was no longer pumping blood properly. 

I was tired, relieved, scared, heartbroken.

It was my [step] dad's birthday. 

Are you good enough?

There's a question that I've heard asked more times today than ever before: Am I good enough? 

This question got me thinking about why this is a growing concern right now–why are their more people today struggling with the fear that who they are, what they do, and how it all looks, might not be good enough?

When did everyone stop believing in themselves? When did everyone start comparing themselves to people who are nothing like them? 

I have a thoery.

I believe we've become so attached to the way we look and how much people "like" us online that if we don't get any likes, comments, or followers that means we're not good enough. We're not successful. We're not as good as everyone else so that must mean we're not worthy. And if we don't have X amount of followers than we'll never be successful. 

Basically, we're ranking our self-worth based on algorythyms and images of people we've never met. 

I've learned this the hard way. I've found myself getting triggered when I would see another artist painting art that looked like mine, or another artist who is doing something I wished I had done first. I, too, have studied Instagram feeds to locate some sort of formula that would amount to their success so then I could follow that formula and create my own success. I have invested more time than I'd like to admit on growing my following. 

I don't blame myself. I don't blame you either. We've all done it because at one point in our lives we were told to "fake it till we make it" or "find someone else who is doing what you want to do then learn from them" and because we've had it cycled through our brain so many times that "more is better".  

I believe we've all become observers and consumers instead of cultivators. We're watching everyone have their impressive little lives on social media, when in reality, thier life's (and our own) are far from what we see in those beautifully curated squares. We're paralized by consuming their lives (their stories, their successes, their beauty) that we stop cultivating our own. 

But the thing is, Instagram is not our real lives. Our self-worth, our success, our lives were never meant to be reliant on social media or other people's judgement. Who we are, what we do, how we do it, the happiness we cultivate, the love we share and beauty we experience–in it's truest form–can only be found offline.

I know you've read similar articles before (like the one I'm writing right now) but have you actually taken a step back from Instagram to get in touch with yourself? Can you actually say (and believe wholeheartedly) that you are good enough? That what you do does matter–your voice, your beauty, your love, your art, your story, your imperfections, your everything, matters?

I have a feeling you're reading this because you might need the extra nudge to take a break from the noise in order to cultivate what matters most like writing your story, sending a card, visiting with your neighbor, going for a hike, cooking a meal for someone in need, calling your mom, reflecting on the day, sqeezing your loved ones extra tight for another few moments.

Whatever this article inspires you to do–do it now before you unconciously click through the apps on your phone and allow inspiration to deflate you once again. Better yet, delete the apps right now. You can always reinstall them when you're ready to jump back in (that's what I do). I encourage you to actively create the life you want to live by going and living it! 

Lastly, I know I'm not sitting next to you in real-life to say this to you personally, but I want you to know that I believe in you. I know that you're good enough. And I know you have everything you need right in front of you.  

Pistachios

I remember going to dad’s work around the corner from our home. There was a gum ball machine in the reception area stuffed full of pistachios.

That was my first time trying pistachios. My fingers would be stained red from the shells.

I’m not quite sure why I was at my dad’s work that day. Where was my mom? Was she working?

I remember sunshine beaming through the open garage door, which I could see from where I sat, waiting for dad.

The receptionist was the garage owner’s daughter. There were 3 or 4 of them. They were all so pretty and nice.

Across the street from the garage trailers were neatly lined on a patch of grass facing the road. I believe this was their way of storing them while also advertising them. Adjacent from that patch of grass was the bar that my parents met in.

She was a bartender, he a patron. She was 25, he was 20. She was a mother of 3 and recently widowed, he was fresh out of college. They married in a courtroom.

My mom said she proposed to him. Their reception was at my grandparents house (dad’s parents)—just a few houses down from the garage.

I remember that day. Eating cake. Playing in the creek. Drinking soda from a can. Playing with my uncle—the one that’s only 2 years older than me. At that time I was about 4 or 5 years old.

9/11

This morning I woke up from a dream. In the dream a large burning light came soaring down from the sky and hit the earth. The earth shakes and a loud, almost deafening noise followed.

I knew in that moment it was the end. 

I was in the dining room of the house I grew up with my oldest sister Mandie to my left and my niece Ruby to my right. I competed with the noise and shouted to my family I loved them. I wanted–I needed–them to know I loved them. 

Moments later we rushed out of our house and into the streets where we knew there were other children who needed help. When we got to closest house there were a few children outside crying from confusion and fear. We did our best to console them, gathered them and kept moving. 

Then I woke up. 

I looked over at my peacefully sleeping husband and thanked God I was alive. And thought that if I knew the world was going to end, would I live my life differently? Would I change something about myself or how I spend my time? Am I doing what I was put on this earth to do? 

When I realized what the date was today, I knew I had to share my dream with you. Most of the time when I recall 9/11 I'm in disbelief that something so tragic, so heartbreaking, so scary actually happened. But in the world we live in today with so much evil, there really is no saying what could happen next. So be sure that what you're doing right now is worth it. Make sure your loved ones know you love them. Make sure that if today was your last day on earth, you're happy, you did your best and you have no regrets, because you never know when today will be your last.

I wrote this story years ago. In my quest to start assembling my book, I will be posting old entries like this one. Then soon, I will begin to put this puzzle (my life/my book) together.