A couple of weeks ago I decided to change things up here on ‘Confessions and I put out a call for some guest posters, because quite simply, I wanted to highlight the amazing writing skills & insights of some of the intriguing women I’ve met in the blogoshere.
One of them, Susan, from Learned Happiness, is one such woman. She’s witty, her style of writing holds a beauty to it that brings me to tears, and her authenticity & transparency is to be admired. She describes her blog as a place “To own my story,” and how she does so is just one of the several things I find beautiful & respect about her. I hope you enjoy her post today as much as I do, stop by her blog, & follow her on Twitter. Please welcome her to ‘Confessions, ya’ll
A’Driane and I met in the #ppdchat mamas group on Facebook. In the months we’ve gotten to know each other online, I’ve come to see her as an optimistic, caring woman who wants to be so much to so many. She’s honest, both with others and herself, which is a rare trait to find in a friend. And her outgoing personality explodes through my twitter stream every morning as I drink my decaf. I’m so excited to share what we’ve been cooking up. A’Driane asked me to guest post a while ago, so instead, we are swapping guest posts, each writing in response to a photo prompt – a picture I snapped in a garden next to Arlington City Hall. I’m honored she asked me to write for Butterfly Confessions and hope I can live up to the task.
A tree stands in a garden, nestled between stone buildings of importance and dignity. Reaching out from a small patch of green near a brick pathway, its branches twist and turn in a ragged, unrefined manner. The bark, speckled with spots of white, reveals its age.
This tree did not choose its lot in life. If it had, surely it would have chosen a larger pasture, one which isn’t hidden in shadow most of the day. A field, perhaps, filled with flowers and fed by sunlight and gentle rains. Instead it was planted where even basic needs would be a struggle to fulfill.
And instead of withering, fading behind the shadows of the surrounding foliage, it reached its branches toward what little light dappled the garden. Stretching out at an odd angle, its trunk carried the life-giving leaves up to the sun, until it could no longer hold its own weight. The roots strained against gravity. And then… salvation. In the form of a simple wooden frame, erected in defense of this tree – in support of its persistence.
My husband says, “Its so sad. Why don’t they just cut it down?” Recoiling in horror, I look at him with shock and disappointment. Can he not see the beauty in this tree, this being? The beauty that instead of lying in youth or perfect form, lies in its strength and will to survive. This tree, which has taken a beating from both nature and time, all the while fighting for life in the face of unfortunate circumstance, still has shade to give and leaves to nurture. It is not less for needing buttressing, but more for welcoming it, growing up from its second trunk in gratitude. Its worth lies simply in its existence.
I wonder, would we have even stopped to notice it, had it been perfect? No, most certainly we would have walked by, never noticing the beauty in its vulnerability. I want to say, “We are the same. I see your fight, your resolve. Keep reaching for the sunlight; keep surviving.” Instead I simply snap a picture, in awe of what this tree has taught me about myself in an instant.
Susan is an elementary teacher-turned-SAHM and private music instructor. She is a postpartum depression and anxiety survivor. Now knocked up with Baby #2, she’s kicking antenatal depression’s butt. A lover of music, books, and art, she blogs at Learned Happiness about parenting and finding balance and happiness in a life impacted by mental illness.