Because I haven’t done so in a while, be advised that this post contains cursing.
I received an email from a reader recently who was “disappointed” by the current contest prize pack which is comprised of assorted items from Julie Jackson’s Subversive Cross-stitch line. My initial reaction to the letter was, “To each her own.” I have a sensibility and taste that appreciates Julie’s biting sense of humor while others like this particular reader believe it to be, “the most insulting thing [they] have seen in a long time.”
No big deal.
But then I thought about it. And I started to wonder just what it is that people might find so offensive about Julie’s work and the only thing I could think of is that it’s got to be the cursing. I can’t imagine what else it could be because though Julie’s messages might not be work-place appropriate they aren’t hateful or cruel and they certainly aren’t insulting. They are witty, sarcastic, direct, and sometimes angry — healthy and therapeutic responses to things in the world that really do suck; things like cancer, the crap we sometimes put ourselves through during the holidays, the lies told by politicians, working at a job that is spiritually draining: the list goes on.
I love gardening. And beyond that I see gardening as an active pursuit in a world that encourages passivity. For that reason and others that I won’t get into now, gardening has the potential to affect positive change in ourselves and the world around us. Working in the garden brings me joy, excitement, courage, and solitude. Digging my hands in the soil and nurturing a plant fills me with a sense of wonder about the world, and teaches me to embrace failure and learn patience.
I want to share that experience with other people and I want to encourage more people to take it up for themselves.
But I need to say, and have been trying for some time to find a way to say that this experience is not all about sunshine and roses. Like all humans, I am a person with pain who has suffered and struggled. I have come to realize over time just how much gardening is a therapy and a way for me to nurture myself, find solace, and release anger and frustration. I can’t imagine how many of us would have stuck with this “hobby” for any length of time if it were simply about puttering about and making things look pretty. I came to be a passionate gardener because I NEEDED it. Life includes struggle. Sometimes I am grateful for that struggle but sometimes I’m angry and damned if I’m going to accept a world that doesn’t provide space for people like me to punch the air, laugh like a maniac, and say fuck it once in a while!
And because I am a gardener, and these experiences are a part of life, a part of who I am, who I have been, and who I will become, they are not inappropriate or out of context even here, on a website about gardening.