What am I good at? What do I know? What do I do? Not even a year ago, these questions would bring tears to my eyes because I felt such a deep sense of not knowing, even inadequacy, that the lump would immediately rise in my throat. The incongruent angles and lines that are my life are not easy to make sense of at this point. What I thought I knew continues to shift and change. I know a little about a lot of things, and that left me feeling less than confident. Today I can say that I have been staring down that feeling of less than for the last year and, as I try to do the next right thing on a daily basis, that feeling is fading away.
Today I brought my everyday best friend, volleyball partner (and partner in so many of life’s good things) to spend time in Fresno, surrounded by people from my childhood and my high school years, to celebrate the life of Nancy Taylor (who i wrote about here).
The celebration of her life brought the most wonderful people together to tell stories, and to laugh and cry together. We even had those moments where generations confess the crazy stories of the past. As I sat and listened, I realized what I’m good at, and how much of it is a part of upbringing.
I know how to make things grow.
That’s what we do where I’m from. You pass the signs: “Raisin Capitol of the World” “Cantaloupe Capitol of the World”. You name it, I know someone who grows it.
We are proud to tell you what we grow and show you how we do it. But then, I realize it runs so much deeper than that. It’s generations of people, figuring out what grows in what soil, how to take care of things to make them thrive, how to weather hardships and storms when your livlihood is on the line because no year, let alone a life, is perfect.
I was taught by people who know that growing things is not about perfection, but persistence. It’s about showing up when the conditions are less than perfect, and making the best out of situations you cannot control. Growing is even about getting stuck in the mud and figuring out how to get the heck out of it. It’s knowing that someone may have better soil or a bigger crop than yours, but that you are going to make the very best out of what you have made. It’s about having patience because everything good takes time to grow, and intuition to know that every living thing is going to take a little something extra or different to thrive...and then figuring out what that special ingredient is and taking care of it.
I am so grateful that even though my feet are in the sand today, my roots were planted in heavy soil, so no matter where I go, I am strong enough to hold on and weather the storms that come my way. It’s what gives me the courage to put my work out there and let it be seen and to embrace this crazy journey that is mine. From good roots comes strong growth and the best way to learn and teach is by doing.