Settling for survival, or learning to thrive: part 2

“You see, all you really need to know is that sh*t is fertilizer.”

That is the phrase that caught in my mind after listening to a master gardener explain to an enthralled group of ‘city folks’ how she grew such large vegetables. She talked about the growing process, tilling the ground, watering, and even harvesting. She talked about all kinds of fascinating things, and since I love to garden and grow things, I enjoyed her talk.

But it stuck with me, years afterwards, “sh*t is fertilizer.”

My life hasn’t been a cake walk. In fact, quite far from it. Not a pity party invitation, simply a statement of fact, that the deck of cards was cut a certain kind of way and the hand I was dealt was far less than ideal. The truth is that even before I was a fetus, the cards were stacked in a less than favorable way against me, and throughout my childhood and early adulthood, I continued to be dealt horrible hands.

I was not supposed to exist. I was not supposed to live. And I sure as hell was not supposed to make something of my life.

It would be fair to say that I carry around a lot of sh*t from my experiences, and it took me a long time to realize that I didn’t have to keep carrying that sh*t as a burden. That sh*t could become the fertilizer which helped me to grow what now is an incredible life that I love.

But how did that happen?

Well, I think it is really quite impossible to point at any one specific instance which helped me to see that I was letting my past dictate my present and future life. What helped me to turn that sh*t into fertilizer is really a culmination of experiences over the course of time. I found myself in people serving roles quite often and I think that meeting people, learning from them, and getting to know them, helped me to see that I was not alone or as unique as I thought I was.  Those roles also taught me that what I experienced in childhood and young adulthood was not normal, nor was it okay or acceptable. The people I worked with and journeyed alongside taught me that I am worth something, simply because I am a human being. Sure, there were plenty of people who told me I was all the things I already believed I was, a mistake, worthless, etc etc etc. But I started to believe those people less, and started to believe the people who accepted me and embraced me as I am more.

As time went on I began to see that if I was myself, and shared the sh*t with others in a helpful way, others were helped by it. And, I felt that suddenly my sh*t had meaning, and that I could do something powerful with it.

Almost by accident (though I am entirely convinced that the Universe orchestrated this on purpose), pieces fell together and my sh*t burden became fertilizer. The sh*t that I had been carrying around with me, the sh*t that had been slowly killing me, was the exact same sh*t that was now starting to change the way that the community thought about the sh*t I had been through and moved many to action so other people don’t have to go through the same sh*t. Heck, I was able to help change laws by telling people about my sh*t!

I look back, even just 10 years back, and I cant believe how miserable I was… I was so consumed by the smell and the weight of the sh*t I was lugging around that I was missing out on life itself. What was the point of surviving if I couldn’t actually LIVE???

Opening myself up to the possibility that I was meant for more than that, and that maybe people were being honest when they told me I was meant to be here. Opening myself up to the potential of making my pain be more than just pain, and making space for something good to come out of it. When I began to open myself up, that is when I was able to begin to use my sh*t to take the power out of my past and put it into my hands. That is really when I began to grow into the person I was always meant to be, even though it scared me sh*tless to open myself up at all.

When I think about it, sh*t really is fertilizer, and truly amazing things come from well-tended gardens.

Until next time,

Rachel

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