At one point, stuck in a two bedroom basement apartment with income below the poverty level and the landlord from hell, I thought the reason I wasn't happy was me. All I needed to do was change my outlook on life. Make the most of what I had. Keep trying. Be positive. Bloom where planted.
It worked. For a while. Then I had a breakdown. Serious depression, for years, ensued. What had I done wrong?
And then, by a miracle, I got my first - and only - house. Doors directly to the outside. A garden to plant. A clothesline. A stoop to sit on out front and a patio out back. Heaven.
In the early days, I picked out whatever plants my heart desired and planted them wherever I wanted to. My theory? Actually, I didn't really have one. Just trial ... and, unfortunately, some error.
I've learned a lot of lessons from my garden. One of the earliest ones beng that not every plant can bloom where it's planted. Some are doing good just to survive. To hang on.
In those early days, I had some pretty scrawny plants. Hostas planted in full sun when they are a shade plant.
And then there was my clematis. My new neighbour had one planted against her clothesline. A beautiful blue in colour. Large flowers.
I picked out my clemantis with care. Planted it as per instructions - or so I thought - with a little shrub immediately in front to shade its feet.
Two seasons passed. My clematis did not resemble my neighbour's beautiful flowering plant at all. Scrawny. Almost no blooms. A big disappointment.
Until Papa Bear took a close look at it and said: "Mama Bear, I think we planted this on the wrong side of the clothesline." The sun was shining directly on the plant. The shrub to shade it's feet planted "behind it" rather than in front of it - sun/shade wise.
So one Saturday in 2001, Mama and Papa Bear relocated said plant to the opposite end of the clothesline.
The plant grew. Another season came.
The plant burst forth glorios wonder!
Buds, then blooms, everywhere. Climbing up the entire clothesline. Growing over the top. Entwining itself on the lines itself.
Now, it can bloom where planted. Now it can thrive.
Like the plant, I had to learn that being positive in a hostile situation is not always enough. Sometimes, one has to realize that the conditions are not conducive to blooming. Survival is all that's going to happen.
Do I continue to battle a hopeless situation? Or do I move on to better soil? To more optimum growing conditions? Where I can not only thrive but bloom profusely?
I choose ... to thrive. To bloom. To live.
*all pictures taken in 2011*