I love my plants. I didn't always have a green thumb but after living with my big sister for a few years I developed a love for plants. I am not always the best at keeping certain types of plants alive. In fact it really breaks my heart when I can’t figure out how to care for one of them or if one dies. Similar to how I am with my relationships but that is another blog for another day to be written and read with cocktails!
I moved to the valley last October and it was one of the hardest moves of my life. For those that know me moving has become a way of life given my career path. It is nothing for me to pack up and move to other cities or states. My spirit has always landed me exactly where I needed to be. But this move was different. I have never, ever liked the valley because of a few different reasons but mainly because of the heat and it's distance from the beach. Moving to Sherman Oaks made me feel like I was being put on punishment. So many of my friends love the valley but I dreaded moving over the hill. My spirit was not settled about this decision yet my spirit was insisting this was the right move. Ugh. Begrudgingly I set up shop in a cute neighborhood and prepared to get my life.
One thing I knew for sure is that if this was going to work I needed to make this new space feel like home as much as possible and as quickly as possible. I looked around my new space and discovered that there was not enough greenery for my liking. The valley is very dry and has a very brown landscape in some areas. The ground cover has a hard time surviving the brutal heat so desert landscaping is easier to maintain. I get it but I still did not like it. I drove to a local Home Depot and a nearby Armstrong's Nursery and prepared to add a few babies to my jungle. I ended up buying a huge peace lily, a palm, a snake plant and a plant that had leaves that felt like velvet. (Some of you remember that I bought the snake plant after the squirrels stole my tulip bulbs! I am low key still salty about it but I will get through it. Namaste.) Anyway, I was in love with all of them but especially fond of Miss Velvet Leaves. I really loved her texture and the purple color on the backside of her leaves.
Much like her mother, my sweet Velveteen was struggling in the valley heat. I moved her all over my apartment trying to find the best place for her. I tried direct sun then no sun then light sun...she was not happy anywhere in the space. I kept her soil hydrated but she still was not happy. Eventually she lost all of her beautiful velvet leaves. She became covered in those little pesky gnats. She was losing her desire to sprout new life. But something wouldn’t allow me to throw her away. I moved her away from all the other plants because it appeared she was really sick & I didn’t want her to affect the other plants.
I cut away all of her dead leaves. She looked like a stump in a pot full of soil. Far from her original beauty that she came home with. I treated her soil for the pesky ass gnats! I kept watering her. I repeated this cycle a few times & then I let her rest but kept an eye on her. I can't lie I was becoming discouraged because she as showing no signs of life. A friend gifted me another plant and she quickly became the big sis of the group. Her leaves stand tall and she flourished in her pot. So I decided to move Velveteen closer to her new big sis which ultimately put her back in the crowd. I kept watering her but still no action. Then one day I looked up & there it was...one little leaf shot up & out of her soil. I was so hype! Then there were 2, then 3 & then 4 signs of new life. It finally hit me...this plant has represented the last 8 months of my life’s journey.
Sometimes we have to go through shit we do not want to go through because it feels extremely uncomfortable. Even though we know this movement will take us to the next level of who we want to be. Sometimes we have to shed dead weight, release old habits, remove unhealthy connections and change our environment to get ourselves to the very place we desire to be. I had to come to the valley to revamp my entire life. The shit was brutal and uncomfortable and at times downright UGLY AF! I had to isolate myself to see myself clearly before I made my next moves. One thing I know for sure is that I never make good decisions when my thoughts are chaotic and my mind is clouded with the influence of outside sources.
This move to the valley has proven to be life changing, necessary and rewarding in it's own way. Little Miss Velveteen has reminded me that there is still a fire inside of me and it is time to sprout new life. There is Value in the Valley (please read this book by Iyanla if you have not already) and it will teach you what you need to know if you are open to it. I learned a few valuable lessons while living here. Here a a few...
Alone time is good; isolation as a punishment to self is not. Tribes were created for a reason and it is important to have a healthy tribe surrounding you. If you feel as though you do not have a tribe then it may be time for you to build a new one. You do not have to go at this crazy thing called life alone.
ASK FOR HELP! Allow others that truly love you to care for you. This was the hardest lesson for me but also the most important one. I am so grateful for my loves that showed up and showed out. Thank you for holding my hand. I love you.
Remove unhealthy connections. You know exactly who & what you need to disconnect from. Thank them for being apart of your journey thus far and then release them.
Pay attention to your body. It will send you signals when you need nourishment, water and/or rest.
I hope my little Velveteen will serve as a reminder for you to keep going when you want to give up. Even when it feels like the end, there is still a fire inside of you and you must fan those flames! When you feel like you cannot fan, ask your tribe to assist you and actually allow them to show up for you. Remember that this moment of discomfort will pass and you will emerge again with a renewed spirit. A wise woman told me right before I moved here that life is a series of peaks and valleys. No one gets to jump from peak to peak. You must travel through a valley every now and then to get to the next peak. I gained a lot from this experience but it is time to go. I got my lessons and now it is time to put them into action....over the hill! I am grateful for this experience and I am excited about the next part of my journey.