This New Year I began a 27 day journaling challenge to work on myself and my health.  If you have never tried journaling, you should.  There are many journaling sites, but the two I recommend are; Mari McCarthy’s Create, Write, Now-Journaling for the Health of It and Matilda Butler/Kendra Bonnett’s Women’s Memoirs who do more than just journaling.  Why journal?  Well it really is a cool way to talk with yourself.  To discover who you are, what you want to be and what may be holding you back.  I consider this blog a sort of journal.  A journal of my garden, my life, my lessons learned.

And then there is the garden journal I keep promising myself I will be starting.  This year I am going to do this in earnest and already purchased one I can use for 3 years.  I believe a garden journal is just as important as a personal journal because it will help me in the long run with making decisions about my garden just as the personal journal helps me with my life.

So what has all this journaling done for me?  It has reinforced what I need to work on and where I am going.  Recently I began to discover about truth and what it may mean for me because what it may mean to each of us depends on our own perceptions.  What I believe to be true is heavily cloaked in my perceptions, my experiences.  Those that know me have heard me say, “the truth is always somewhere in the middle”.  By that I mean, what you perceive to be true and what I perceive to be true may vastly differ, and by the time we unravel what really may have happened it is always a little of both….

A recent journal lesson dealt with a hurt or experience we had as a child that forever changed us…something we internalized that we have never really challenged as adults and it has now become our personal truth.  Mine happened when I was five.  I had just moved to a new town and a new school and it was my first day in a new Kindergarten.  I have never forgotten the incident, but I never realized just how much it changed me and affected my life; held me back! And while it may have seemed silly or insignificant, turns out it really wasn’t.

The experience changed my welcome to the new class to one of being ostracized from the group.  I had been playing with a jigsaw puzzle (funny how I still love them) that was missing a piece.  I put it back carefully, but never told anyone it had a piece missing.  Later I was accused of being irresponsible for losing the piece to the puzzle, and was demeaned in front of this new class.  Needless to say I was mortified, in shock and tried to explain.  The teacher would not listen and basically I was called a bad person that no one would want to play with…yeah, nice huh?

Well you can guess from there.  I refused to go school.  My mother did not know why I cried and refused to get on the bus for a week.  Finally when I told her what a bad person I was, she lost it and went to the school to ream them out.  She put me in a pretty progressive all day Kindergarten at the local Methodist church which turned out to be a great formative experience, but what happened on that fateful day really left me scarred in many ways.

I can be angry, I can blame but really I am sure this teacher was trying to teach me a lesson.  And while she was well-meaning, she went about it in such a negative way.  So why bring up this horrible experience again…well the lesson was one of re-evaluating our beliefs…beliefs we hold onto.  These are the experiences and beliefs that feed our inner critic as Mari McCarthy says.  They just keep coming back and staying in our heads.  Mine says lots of things and I hadn’t realized until now where it was all coming from.  Once I did acknowledge it all, I decided it was time to let it all go…to start realizing all the great things I have done in my life. All that I can accomplish.

And I realized this experience from long ago was why I have a hard time taking a compliment.  I really didn’t think what I do or did was special so when anyone said to me, “I really love your gardens”, or “you have a wonderful talent and gift with your gardening and design” I just dismissed the comments and said thank you, but they are really nothing special.  After all I have no formal training.  I am self taught.  I read, I try, I fail and I keep trying new ways.  Who am I to give a garden talk, to design someone else’s garden?  Well it turns out that many of us are self taught.  We may have a natural talent for something that we finally discover.  Then we nurture it, practice, and keep learning more.

Don’t get me wrong.  I know I am not the be all, end all.  I know I have much to learn, but I am not afraid to discover what I don’t know or even admit I don’t know it.  So as I embark on my garden design business, I know my limits, but I also know what I CAN do!  I have enjoyed reading hundreds of gardening blogs lately on Blotanical, Facebook and Best Garden Blogs.  I have learned lots of great tricks for growing seeds, or how to best plan out your veggie garden, to discovering interesting yard art and materials to use as a border for your planting beds.  Many of the people writing these blogs are your average gardener around the world who are doing real experiments, making mistakes and cheering their own triumphs.

What better classroom to learn the truth about gardening and life at least as I see it!!

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.  Mark Twain

32 Replies to “Truth”

  1. The minor incidents that happen in childhood can change your outlook for a lifetime. In the 6th grade in singing class, I was advised by the music teacher to “just mouth the words” when it came to performing before the school an extremely difficult song (took a lot of vocal range). Again, teacher probably meant well but to the very day I do not sing in any group situation. This includes church hymns, group sings of Happy Birthday or Christmas carols.

    A very thoughtful quote. Accepting a complement requires so more self-confidence. A person needs to feel they are worthy of the praise.

    1. you should sing out now despite this teacher…I think I went into teaching to make sure I never did this type of behavior…I hope I didn’t…thx for visiting and commenting…your comment touched my heart!!

  2. I really enjoyed your journal experiences and glimpses of self discovery. It is important to believe in yourself and there will be very little you can not accomplish.

  3. I’ll find it hard not to walk around angry all day.

    I completely understand why you were affected in this way. Probably thousands of children have been damaged by such remarks. Thank heavens your mother worked out what was wrong – and was able to move you to a different teacher; that’s not always possible.

    I’m also aware how we all run the risk of mis-understanding and mis-judging small children. Things can go wrong and we never know until they grow up and dare to say.


    1. Lucy I don’t want anyone to be angry…I would say the lessons are many here but first and foremost we must figure out our truth and learn to accept it…I hope others are inspired to confront their inner critic and discover why it says what it says….I hope you can have a joyous day!!!

  4. I had a hurtful childhood experience that I realized years later had stayed with me. I resisted journal writing after my experience with it as a college student (required for class and critiqued by the instructor) but have gotten back into it and found it very valuable.
    Great post!

    1. Funny how these experiences are hidden beneath the surface but are always there until we bring them out and let them go…great you are journaling again!!

  5. Donna, That was the most wonderful post I have read in the past six months. You will have made many of us feel that we are not alone with these feelings. I truly hope you have success with everything in your life from now on.

  6. Thinking about those “things” that stay with us bring up hurrtful feelings but, through the hurt comes growth and continued learning. This blog entry will help many of us to reflect, feel and move forward.

  7. As a professional in the mental health field, it continues to amaze me how long we can carry a tiny but very painful memory.
    I work with the elderly and often they will share as you have just done, albeit not so poeticly.
    Sometimes I feel my garden expresses what I would write in a journal, I feel whole when I’m there and even when I’m just longing to be there.
    When we express ourselves creatively, however we do, and ‘put it out there’ as you have just done so beautifully, we heal.
    And along the way, we don’t just help others.

      1. thx GJ..this was a very special, personal post that I wanted to share and am so glad it has helped others and touched them!!

  8. Donna, It always amazes me, when I learn of stories such as yours . . . that there are teachers who can be so thoughtless and really cruel. I hope you mother made a difference and that no other child had to suffer from your teachers inability to see the harm she puts upon a young forming mind and self consciousness. Journaling is a great tool for rediscovery and discovery. I look forward to hearing how your garden design business proceeds. It is truly wonderful we all have our community of gardeners offering support and sharing our experiences and knowledge. To find something one is truly passionate about and good at is perhaps one of the most important steps towards feeling fulfilled and happy. A very touching post Donna. ;>)

    1. thx Carol..I will be blogging about the business as I get started and I am glad you liked the post…it was a very personal “truth” for me I felt needed to be shared…glad I made the right decision to share it!! 😉

  9. Between Alistar and Gardening Jones it’s a ditto for me. Your blogging can help people turn their “frowns upside down”.Thank you for your writings. Very creative Donna and please don’t ever stop. Take care & God Speed Donna. Terri oh, and:

    P.S. I think I was abused by my kindergartner teacher once we were all sitting in the hallway putting on my boots and she decided that I must not have been moving fast enough for her and she decided to stomp on me with her high heels. Awesome writing!!

  10. Boy! We never know when our old baggage will show up. When I was in first grade, my new stepmother (my mother had just died the year before) made me pickle-loaf sandwiches for lunch. I hated it and never would get that coveted gold star for finishing EVERYTHING on my plate. Didn’t scar me for life, but almost! Thanks for sharing your story.

  11. It’s sad how the burdens of the past can affect us for many years. Thank you for a very moving post! And good luck on your garden design business!

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