One of my favorite questions to answer, because of all the twists and turns, but especially because my answer varies each time I share.
Well, that's kind of the nature of storytelling isn't it? We adjust certain things, elaborate on particular details, and look for cues from our audience to gauge their interest - sometimes needing to turn up the humor to hold their attention.
I'm often long winded when I begin my answer to "how you got to be here, doing this thing with plants." So here it is, in writing with all the details, if you'd like to know just how it is that I got to be here - where ever here is, I'm still figuring that out.
Ugh, Christmas ornaments, here we go....It's not that I hate Christmas, it's just that I hated when it arrived early, in the department store where I worked as an Assistant Manager, in September. What a bummer, and only just the beginning.
Truckload after truckload would arrive with limited edition toys, gift sets for every need imaginable, and sweaters with fancy gift tags. The sheer amount of STUFF that bombarded our space was astonishing. The volume alone, with boxes piled to the ceiling, was enough to send my anxiety through the roof. Not to mention, completely numb my soul from being so far removed from any real sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Two months later, on November 1st, we would be subject to the torture that is a Christmas music playlist. Not so bad, rather delightful in fact, as a shopper. But as an employee working an 8-10 hour shift? There are only so many times you can listen to those holiday classics and still remain in a cheery disposition.
The 2013 season had me feeling rather Grinchy, after just three years in retail management. I had become a version of myself that I didn't recognize, but at the same time, I wasn't quite sure how to come back to myself. I was looking for a change, but drew blanks when I'd hit the drawing board. Researching the possibilities of careers in things that were close, but not really the THING. Know what I mean?
In a last ditch effort to save my Scrooge-like spirits, my mother dragged me to a nursery and garden center to admire the decorated Christmas trees and "get in the holiday spirit." I was dizzy from all my eye rolling, but begrudgingly I got in the car because I knew she was right - I was in dire need of an attitude adjustment.
Looking back on this memory, I'm filled with joy - how could I not be? It was Christmas and the holiday displays were beautiful. Trees done up tip to trunk with adorable themes - some more classic, with white lights and classic ornaments that sparkled, while others were more trendy and colorful, all white with winter wonderland critters and deep green with all the outdoor-man trimmings.
There was one tree, though, that stood out among them all; one that perhaps planted a seed, or was instead a breadcrumb to start me on the path back to my authenticity and connecting with the sense of fulfillment I was deeply lacking.
A pretty pink tree dressed with little tiny whisks and spatulas, miniature cookies and slices of cake, adorable little aprons and chef hats. It's like that Barbie pink Christmas tree was everything that 9-year-old Lauren had aspired to be. Sugar coated and perfectly decorated, this holiday intervention launched me on a path toward pastry.
I was mostly confident that that's where I wanted go, wasn't I?
I knew that a future in fancy French pastries sounded a whole lot better than a future in fast fashion. So I resigned from my career in retail in mid-November, determined to waste no time in my attempt to get my Christmas season back.
It would be several seasons until I felt that shift that I longed for, but hey - at least it was a step in the right direction....
This is just the beginning. The storytelling continues next week! Until then, choose more plants, share more smiles, give more hugs :)