Saturday, May 28, 2011

Who Says..?


I was out in our garden earlier this evening (which is looking fabulous, by the way). While I was watering and fussing with the tomato plants (training those branches through the tomato cages is tricky work sometimes), I started thinking about Selena Gomez. I know that's a big mental leap to take, but I'll help you make the arc over safely.

The reason I was thinking about Selena Gomez had nothing to do about her Disney show, Wizards of Waverly Place. Rather, I was thinking of her song, "Who Says" that I heard a few weeks ago and immediately downloaded for my running mix...ahem, I mean for the kids.

Anyway, this poppy and sugary song has a delightful hook that sucks you right in as she croons, "Who says...who says you're not perfect...who says you're not worth it...etc. You get the idea. Even her rapid-fire, "na na na na na's will suck you in....I kid you not. Even Rylie who rolled his eyebrows on his first listen eventually got taken in on one of his stints as Daddy DJ in our family van. It sticks in your brain.

So, anyway...fast-forward to an hour or so ago as I was working with our tomato plants. As I was marvelling at the transformation of two bare dirt plots into a thriving green lush garden and savoring the pungent tomato smell coming from the succulent plants, I started humming "Who Says." I realized that I had been thinking about how I defied my own preconceived notion that I had a black thumb and attempting a garden would be utter folly.

I'm so glad that I didn't let my past bad experiences with indoor plants keep me from trying to work with them outdoors. I would never have been able to step back after some therapeutic work in my garden and feel that amazing sense of accomplishment I so often feel when I realize...hey, I'm growing my own food!!

Our garden on 5/28 -- about 7 weeks after planting it

If I would have let my doubts about my own ability to effectively garden win out, I would never be able to run outside and cut some fresh cilantro for our salsa, or pick some basil leaves for pesto. I would also not be able to see the joy and the dawning realization of where food comes from on my chlildren's face. It's been so fun to have them run out there first thing and then come running in to report to me how big our tomatoes are getting. My second born is great in the garden. She will tell me if a plant is wilted (although she says floppy) so I can give it special TLC.

As I was thinking about Who Says, I arced over to last weekend and how amazing it was to run my fifth race -- especially since if you would have asked me ten years ago (or even 4 years ago) if I would ever consider myself a "runner," I would have cracked up laughing. Seriously. There was not a running bone in my body. I didn't enjoy it in high school and didn't think I could ever do it consistently.

Again...I'm so glad I didn't let my own notions of what I can and cannot do hold me back from trying something new. And, if I hadn't been inspired and challenged by my sister and got out there and tried it for myself, then I would have never met and gotten closer with some pretty amazing people. I also would have never pushed myself to both my mental and physical capacities and came out stronger for it. I wouldn't trade my running experience for anything.

Me and Gina -- I met her last year via running. I can't imagine not knowing her!

So many times we struggle with labels that people have put on us over the years. "You're the quiet one. You're the outgoing one. You're the one who did that thing that one time. You are really good at...., You probably shouldn't do ....., because it's too...." etc. etc. etc.

I think we've all been there to some extent. However, I often think that we struggle more against the bonds of our own "I can'ts," than the ones others place around us. How many times have you been inspired or challenged to do something, but decided against trying it or investigating it because you're sure you would fail or maybe what we feel is worse -- be mediocre. So rather than try and fail (and perhaps hear an "I told you so..."), we end up staying in our safe status quo.

My husband, Rylie, is the son of two very creative people. His dad is an amazing musician and is pretty amazing at engineering and fixing items. His mom also plays guitar and is an amazing artist. Rylie is also highly creative. He enjoys writing (although he doesn't have a lot of time for it), and he admires woodworking, but he hasn't been very confident in his handyman skills.

About six years ago, he got inspired to build an arbor in our backyard that would serve as a sort of covering/shade for our back sliding door. When we originally moved into the house, the back got intense afternoon sunlight making it miserable to be in the back of our house. So, he poured some concrete and put in some metal supports for beams to start the arbor.

Then life happened. It was a combination of things really. We had another child. Then another. Then another. Rylie wasn't sure what the next step should be. He just wanted to relax on the weekends. By the time summer break rolled around, it was too hot to be outside working on it. Over time, the trees along the fence line grew and provided some needed shade and heat relief. The kids became adept at dodging around the metal "knives" (as my terrified parents referred to them) sticking up in the lawn.

But then something happened. My husband got inspired. He believed he could do it...or at least attempt it. And so he bought the rest of the lumber he needed. He bought bolts and saw blades. He read through the Arbors & Trellises book that started it all. He consulted with friends. And he got started. Now a few weeks later, the "knives" are no more. Instead we have beautiful redwood stained posts in their place and a great start to what will be both beautiful and functional.

Learning as he goes along. He's proud that he was able to notch the boards in together.
So, what's holding you back from trying that thing that you've always wanted to do? Maybe it's not even something you've ever considered doing, but something that sounds like a challenge or just plain fun.

The next time you are confronted with an opportunity to try and that little voice in your head tries to discourage you and trots out all your past failed attempts, just take a line from Selena Gomez and tell that little voice,

Who says...?

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