Here’s the thing about blossoming: As any gardener can tell you, in order for a plant to blossom it has to grow, and in order to grow, it has to work its way through some shit. It’s pretty much the same for people, and this is the story of all the fertilization I went through in order to bloom:
In 2011 my life completed a crazy descent into a Country Western song.
First my dog died…
Then there went my business, my house, and my self esteem, all in short order.
I got to keep my truck, but only because I was so good at hiding it in the back forty every time the repo-man was due to visit; his tow truck pulling to a stop at the top of my long mountain driveway, usually at two, three, four in the morning; his search light scanning, scanning, scanning my property, but thankfully, never finding…
Eventually I moved into a trailer…okay, so it was a vintage 1976 Airstream, cool as hell and retro, but still, after all…a trailer.
As far as losing my lover, as is usually the main point for all those songs, I’d been celibate for the better part of a dozen years, so, yeah, that was moot.
With all the crap that happened in the months between the dog-death and taking to the road in a rolling metal tube, I began to joke that I should stop making the bodices and corsets that had been the mainstay of my business, and start making hair shirts and sack cloth clothing. I knew I must not be the only one who felt like Job sitting in the ashes; peoples’ lives were self-destructing all over the country, hell, even the world. I took some small comfort in knowing that I wasn’t alone, but…
I was miserable, and defeated, and so damned depressed I could barely move. I knew if I didn’t do something to shake myself out of my state…I was gonna die. It wouldn’t be from my own hand, never that, not a conscious decision, but death would come anyway, through my will or lack of such as I withered and wasted away.
I didn’t want to die.
I began to read about Stoicism. Not the stiff upper lip sort that we know of in the twenty-first century, but the old kind, from Greece, then Rome. I took great comfort in the words of Epictecus:
“Sick and yet happy, in peril and yet happy, dying and yet happy, in exile and happy, in disgrace and happy,”
I took this philosophy as my own, and it saved me; I used it to lift myself from my bed and I rose from the ashes of my life like a grumpy phoenix, and, slowly but surely, thinking these simple thoughts, I put a smile back on my face.
I got a new dog. I was sure I’d never love him as much as I’d loved the dog that had died, but I needed him and he needed me…
In May I got a letter from my lenders. Despite two years of trying to save my house, I had lost the battle and, soon, so very soon ,I would lose the house itself. I immediately drove into town and bought a box of fuchsia hair dye. What the fuck had the real world ever done for me? It was time to reclaim the wild-child that had been discarded twenty-three years before, when a young single mother with a brand new baby and a business decided to be responsible, and mature, and to toe the line. It was time, I knew, on that bright spring day all those years later, for me to be fully me again…whoever the hell that was.
Dying my hair that day, that small, rather silly act of rebellion was, I’m sure, the first tender petal tentatively unfurling itself in the blossoming that would become the focus of my life.