Spring is Coming

This morning I was annoyed.

I had ordered ONLINE a bunch of Easter decorative items to host this coming weekend, and I was irked this morning when I realized that some of the items were being held at the closest store rather than being shipped to me. Especially because the closest store to me was quite far. I drove 45 minutes down the mountain and dropped my daughter at school and then drove another 45 minutes down to another town to the store’s location. I picked up my items and headed home. Now I could have gone back the way I came, but instead I choose to drive home through the canyon making a full circle. This would be much faster than backtracking.

Boy am I glad I did.

As I drove up the canyon I experienced a whole different world than outside my own front door. It was raining, much like at home… but down from the mountains this rain was already working its miracle. Outside our door, the snow is still packed heavily and the rain on top of it just makes a slushy, gray mess. Down in the canyon I was driving up underneath the clouds/mist/fog. There the rain has already washed away much of the snow, it is bringing the green out of the ground.. there were fully blooming cherry blossom trees all around.

The scene struck me SO hard. At the base of the canyon I could see Spring. I could see what was able to grow and come up after the snow was gone. I could see the clouds and darkness still hovering over the mountains in the distance, but here it had cleared. The rain wasn’t a nuisance. It was a last hardship before the glorious. It was encouraging and making possible so much beauty.

I don’t even watch Game of Thrones, so I probably am using this wrong… but I know they say “Winter is Coming”. This past year winter came for me. Metaphorically. I have never felt so poorly. Sometimes winter can be crisp and beautiful. The snow looks pure, magical, gorgeous. Not this year. This year I felt as though it was a freezing, heavy nuisance. I could never hold the weight of all the damp layers of snow dumped on me, and I was numb and cold inside.

I think one of the hardest things to get through is the unfair feeling of dealing with the fallout and emotions of other’s choices. When you make your own mistakes, or walk the path of your own consequences there is a feeling of culpability that hopefully creates a willingness to endure or understand… when someone else’s selfishness, or weakness, or negative outcome falls on your shoulders it can be brutal. It feels unjust, and it is hard to maintain an attitude of finding the positive, of learning and moving on.

This happened to me this winter. I felt like I couldn’t withstand the heaviness of loved ones decisions. I didn’t ask for the constant onslaught of storms, or how messy and ugly they were. It wasn’t a magical, light, fun snow. It felt like a blizzard, one that immediately got dirty and hard to live through, one that kept me freezing, numb and gray.

Then the rain started, literally and metaphorically. And I thought I was done. How could I add insult to injury?

Until I drove through the canyon today.

I saw clusters of evergreen trees. They were magnificent. They had stood tall and proud, they hadn’t lost their color, or their strength. Their branches had held the weight of the snow, and then allowed the rain to wash it all away. Now that that had passed, they were poised to be surrounded by fresh, new beauty. They had remained tall, un-moveable, and themselves amongst the weather. And I sobbed. I drove through the rain with tears running down my face. I wanted so badly to feel the lightness of my spring coming.

I drove toward home, toward the still snowy, still gray clouds above the mountains ahead and felt so much peace. I had tried desperately this past winter of my life to find ways to still be myself. To smile, to laugh, to remain calm and strong that I could weather the weather. Driving home I felt so sure in my heart that beauty was coming for me, after all this snow, after all this rain, things around me could begin to be beautiful again. I just had to stay strong right where I was.

Growing up I loved Easter. In a religious home there is a lot of talk about Easter symbolizing new beginnings, hope, rebirth and I love, and have always loved those messages. I know not everyone is religious, or believes in the same ideaology, and at different times I have felt closer or further away from religion… but today I could not deny the messages nature was sending me.

Spring is a time of rebirth, literally from the ground up. New animals being born, flowers blooming, the earth thawing and the weather warming. I felt so connected to this opportunity. This time to be grateful that might be about to come out the other side.

Evergreens do always stay true to their coloring, and they do not lose their leaves. However, their branches can crack, break, and needles can fall off. I worried through all my recent hard times that I was withering, or parts of inside were dying. I have always been grateful for what I believe is an intrinsic desire to be exuberant, and to foster that in others around me, but I was so worried I had lost that ability recently. I was scared parts of me had been lost. I saw those other trees in the canyon today and knew they weren't. I may still have some snow to shed the weight of, I may still have some rain to stand through… but I know I will be mostly intact, and absolutely able to grow new and stronger branches in the time to come.

I saw the ground in the canyon has thawed, that new greenery and flowers are working their way up through the soil, and know my time is coming soon.

I don’t know what this past literal or symbolic winter has brought to your life, but if it was numbing cold, or scary winds, or a deep layer of snow to hold that felt too heavy; I was with you. And I know it will be over soon.

Are you still with me? This was personal, and cheesy, and maybe if you are someone who doesn’t particularly like me but hate reads (let’s talk about this in future PS because that culture fascinates me) than you may even be thinking this a ploy for sympathy, or to try and flaunt my deep, symbolic writing skills (which I don’t believe I have but when you feel BEC towards someone it is easier to snark amirite) … so let’s move to fashion, the real reason this blog exists.

I have been drowning myself lately in clothes. Bold colors, OTT accessories, power suits, layers, and heavy fabrics. This felt safe, it felt like a good facade.

I love that fashion often, like music, is as an expression of politics, world climate, and culture. For example, in the 80’s style was loud, luxurious, and bold… a reflection of economic growth. During these periods in the global economy flashy styles dominate as consumers want to show off their wealth. The more embellished and less practical the trends, the higher the probability money is flowing freely. In contrast, after the 1920’s shorter hemlines (to show off your ability to afford silk stockings) the market crash caused a move to longer skirts… why? To hide that maybe you couldn’t wear or afford those same silk stockings anymore. An interesting dichotomy is footwear. In an economic downturn, high end, often high heeled footwear becomes very popular. Consumer product experts believe this is because those flamboyant footwear status symbols are a more accessible version of fantasy and escape when times are rough. Heel heights were notated as the highest (median of 7 inches) in 2009, during the peak of the recession. Likewise, a trend now toward “ugly sneakers” or other odd shoes shows that money is flowing more freely and we are pulling out of the financial crisis of before. How? The flat sole, plus the unattractiveness of shoe options shows a few things: 1) we have an expansive footwear collection, including these uglier pairs that may not last multiple seasons sartorially and 2) we are willing to spend money on riskier fashion choices.

So, my own version of this was as above. I felt vulnerable, fragile, hurt, and was using any extra emotional resources to keep myself afloat, as much my old self as possible. On top of that I was trying find a reservoir to aid those in my family who were going through their own issues, I wanted to stay anger free, resentment free, and find a well of maturity and peace and patience to give them the space and grace they needed. What did that leave me without? The bravery or the courage to feel exposed clothing wise. I felt like I “needed” accessories, outfits and pieces that spoke for me; that projected confidence, strength and summoned a bad ass version of myself when I felt anything but.

I love the Kanye West lyrics from ‘American Boy’ that go:

Before he spoke, his suit bespoke

Who woulda, coulda thought that would be something that runs through my head so often? Kayne for president indeed. (OBVI a joke). Aside from how clever this turn of phrase is, it is something I often think about. What are my clothes saying about me, what do they portray about my personality, life, self? In this past winter’s case, I allowed my clothing to speak for me. When I didn’t feel I had a firm voice, or a strong thought, my style choices were bold, out there, and said ‘don’t mess with me’.

Now, I am so excited to literally and emotionally thaw. To find joy and to show it in pastels, softer textures and fabrics, to stop hiding behind overwhelming construction or too many accessories. To get back to a place where my clothing matches my inner feelings and beauty.

I want to explore colors like pea green, yellow, and soft pinks that I usually don’t experiment with; I want to represent my own personal new beginnings, my own warmth summoning spring. A softer, more graceful side of me that has learned and grown, one that has added layers of peace and grace and hope. I want to project springy vibes from my inside and my out.

What about you?