I'm having one of those days where I feel like a poop person because I guess I'm just like every other human and have ups and downs WHY. So I went to the Whole Foods to do my grocery shopping (I bet you didn't know I am actually a Patagonia-clad mama to Juniper and Jasper—my Australian shepards) and then I suddenly remembered how a year and a half ago, newly graduated from college and living in a dangerously unventilated attic, I used to go to the Whole Foods to forage for free samples after my job on a farm.
Suddenly, that memory—of rolling into the Whole Foods in my dirty shortalls, prowling for free food—warmed my heart. Because it made me realize that in the last two years, I have come a LONG way.
I'm never sure when or how growth happens but it is always so riotously beautiful to me when you take a step out of your life and look back at the many sad, gorgeous, happy, strange, and unsettling moments that guided you to where you are now. A year and a half ago, I was subletting from this god awful couple who hid all the pots and pans from me after I accidentally used their frozen pizza tray to roast veggies. I supplemented my job on a farm—where I was nearly fired for not cleaning the radishes enough—with three part-time gigs. I would've been lost if not for my rad friend Linda, who volunteered on the farm where I worked and had seen some s**t. Linda was in her fifties and worked as a cook on a tugboat. She inspired me to just go for it, and so I did.
The summer wrapped up and I moved home to work at my dream farm-to-table venue where I spent an eerily warm fall helping with weddings (not my dream) and I was sad and unsure and wracked with eco-anxiety. So I found work in San Diego, where my first room was in a damp apartment condo managed by a crack dealing landlord, and I cried a lot because I still felt sad and unsure and wracked with eco-anxiety. The first meal that I ate in that windowless kitchen was with rainbow chard and blood red beets. In my haste, I'd forgotten to wash the veg clean of the sand. So I made a big pot of rocks, really, and took one bite and cried (again), because I was tired of not doing anything right and living in houses that weren't my home.
So I moved again, this time two blocks from the beach, and then again, to a family friend's home, and then to the mountains because I wanted to swim in alpine lakes. And then I lost my job, and sifted through an endless slew of freelance gigs, and I found a new job, and a new home. And I filled my room with plants that put me at peace because it's always been my dream to live in a little Eden so full of snake plants and philodendrons that you can barely find the bed.
And somewhere—sandwiched in between the sadnesses that clawed their way like weeds, in between the houses that didn't hold me close, in between the loves I let go—good things bloomed, gave life to people and places and moments I am forever grateful for. I won awards for my environmental activism and traveled the country speaking to communities about sustainability. I was paid for pieces that were published. I garnered grants to fund my art. I have made things that are beautiful and that I'm proud of. I have felt so very sad but also so very alive with hope.
I don't know where I'll be in the next few months. I'm thinking a treehouse. But I love knowing that I can trust that whatever I do, it will bring me closer to where I want to be—even if I can't name it yet, or may never be able to. There's beauty in recognizing that growth always happens, that homes & loves & plans dissolve only to come back together. Again. And again. And again.