Like Wildflowers Pressed Into Your Favorite Book, the Quiet Kind of Confidence Can Be Found at the Gardens Edge

More Than Lyme Real Talk 2019

Each footstep crunches in anticipation of the next—there it is, a lifetime of moments so perfectly captured in a home build by my grandparents. A home that sits just above a golden valley with deep green trees and a heavy fog.

I catch my breath, holding it, cradling it, memorizing the way it feels in my throat, as if keeping it in will help to create an imprint of every adventure, feeling, piece of laughter, and conversation woven into my entire self by years of living alongside those I look up to most.

These imprints, always humming and always reminding me of unlikely treasures. Of freshly baked bread and childhood songs sung on windy roads, somehow, only ever remembering the first two lines, but choosing to merrily sing along anyway.

Of running along the beach shoreline, catching small rocks and chunks of sand between your toes as arms are spread high and wide, salt coated fingers eager to receive the spray of the ocean. 

Of worlds made more real from knowing that you’re the only one who can see them: The fairies creating skirts of flower pedals and crowns from the thorny roses tucked just behind the weathered garden fence. You glance around, making sure no one else notices you before sneaking them breadcrumbs. 

It’s not the place. It’s never been just the place. 

It’s the feeling held captive by your senses. The smells, the sights, the memories that come back through the crashing of waves and way the roads are a patchwork of potholes, made softer and more gentle by the tall grass that presses up against its worn edges. 

I just see what the 8-year-old me wants me to see. 

As if I have somehow gathered up a lifetime of emotions into a single moment. 

As if somehow I’ve managed to remove every layer of doubt. 

Every piece of anxiety.

Every feeling of loss or anger.

For just long enough to remember that I get to choose how I shape these stories. 

That the me now. The me that longs for the kind of confidence that never wavers. The kind of voice that doesn’t crack. The kind of breath that carries, is looking in all the wrong places. 

Is pulling a part pieces that don’t need to be pulled a part. 

I take a few steps back, the sound of moving gravel heavy against my ears; I see the wildflowers lining the gardens edge and instantly my entire being wants to pick the whole lot. Wants to pause this moment and all the smells and all the feelings with it.

But I stop myself, etching these flowers into my mind for as long as I want them to be there. Those darks greens and that golden light part of the thread woven through every cell.

I choose this. 

Every time, I choose this—a story that cannot be broken. 

A moment that can’t be taken from me.

A moment that I’ll root myself in, again and again. 

It’s not the place. It’s never been just the place.

It’s the choice you make to keep something in your life when you recognize, with the biggest of exhales, that it doesn’t require an explanation. 

That the feeling you get from it is real and true to you, no matter how many times you turn your heels and walk away. 

I see little me and the worlds she created.

I see the book I am writing.

I see the book that my grandpa wrote.

I see this house on land that is so deeply loved by all who have been made part of it.

I see a world of endless opportunity.

I see what’s always been right in front of me: Freshly baked bread and a chorus of moments bouncing from ridge line to ridge line. 

I see beauty stripped of its complexities— beauty made simple.

With me and those I love standing in the middle of it all. 

I sense a quiet kind of stirring. The kind that only makes itself known when everything else has gone entirely still: Confidence that isn’t loud but quiet and powerful, words spoken with care, remembering that storytelling is a gift, an art, and something to treasure. Exhaling, the space grows still, once again shifting over so we can make room for another story. 

Listen carefully, you don’t want to miss it…

More Than Lyme Real Talk 2019

Everything is just as fleeting as it is lasting.

There will always be a point when we must turn and walk away.

When we must let go.

It’s in that moment that I hope to remember all of this, carrying it with no matter where I go or what I do or who I become.

This is a feeling of home that I choose to root myself in, again and again. 

This is how your story goes on.

These are the moments I will keep at the center of the table.

Like wildflowers, pressed into my favorite book.

A book I will no doubt pass along to you, just as it was gifted to me, spine torn at the edges and pages smelling of a place where the trees stand tall and dark as the fog rolls in. 

Now bring the book to your nose—can’t you smell the flowers growing wild and unforgiving along the gardens edge?