Smelling the Roses

This time of year, the roses on my front porch bloom so bright and happy. The big pink blossoms only stick around for a short while but the amount of joy they bring me is immeasurable. I love my roses. I’ve tended to them for years and I like to believe it shows.

I woke up early one morning. The life span of my precious little blooms are coming to an end so I decided to clip some of them and bring them into the house. I climbed up on my step stool, carefully picking through the thorny vines to find the blooms that are just about to wither away. The cool spring breeze was softly blowing. My neighbors were walking their dogs. The birds were chirping. It was perfect.

Once I had my little handful of blooms, I went inside and put together a small arrangement for my kitchen island. It occurred to me that, in the 6 years that I’ve had those roses on my front porch, this is the first time I ever taken the time to bring some of their beauty inside with me. I guess you could say this is the first time that I’ve actually “stopped and smelled the roses” – literally. This simple little act made me realize just how much my life has changed. Just how different everything is now.

My life feels calm and safe for possibly the first time ever… and that’s not an exaggeration. I grew up in chaos and learned to operate and survive in disfunction. In high school and college I made choices for my life that perpetuated chaos because that’s what I knew – after all, there is comfort in familiarity. I dated terrible people that horribly mistreated me because that’s what I saw as a child. I allowed the comfort of chaos to wrap me up like a warm blanket. My life was perpetually spiraling towards new tumultuous heights… until I finally called a therapist.

However, just because I started seeing a therapist didn’t mean the disfunction subsided. On the contrary, choosing to come face to face with my demons and talk openly about my past created quite a bit more chaos for me. For years I struggled to walk through the shame and trauma of my past. I battled self-destructive tendencies right and left. I kicked and screamed and cried and numbed out… But I kept showing up. I never missed a session. It wasn’t graceful but I did it.

Eventually and unfortunately my newfound and hard won understanding of self-worth and healthy boundaries caused a lot of drama. It lead to broken relationships and divorce… But it also, finally, got me here. Peacefully arranging a sweet bouquet of roses from my garden. Sleepy eyes and a sleepy smile, content in the calmness of my home. Finally having the emotional space to stop and smell the roses.

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