“What is this all about?”
To answer that question for you, I have to ask you one first.
Have you ever seen a water lily and considered its origin?
The flower and the leaves float on the water, but the murky water on which they set reveals little about the roots.
The fact is, the beautiful water lily is rooted in the mud. The flower floats, and we admire it. The frogs leap from one lily pad to another, likely never thinking about its connection to the stem of the plant and how that flower gets its strength and nourishment from the base of the murky pond.
I hear people say it often: “The past is irrelevant. What matters is what you do in the present.” I only partially agree.
Yes, what you do in the present matters. Yes, it matters to your future. But the past (your roots) can serve you as the source of what you become.
Your present decisions and your past matter to your future!
You can use the mud from which you came as the source of your strength and nourishment, letting the past make you beautiful and a strong support system for those around you.
Your past can work for you — not against you — to help you make good decisions now that can shape the course of your future.
“So, you still haven’t told me who you are or what this is all about.”
Like many people, I have a muddy past. Here’s a sample:
I always took great pride in being an outspoken person.
For most of my life, people told me I should become a lawyer, because I was opinionated and told people exactly what I thought. What I thought about them, their lives, their habits, their children, their relationships, their politics, and their religions.
That seemed to be working out pretty well for me for a while. Until one revealing email exchange I had with a close friend.
I accused her of being an “***-kisser.”
She said, “You know, T. Maybe sometimes people aren’t being ***-kissers. Maybe sometimes, they just like peace. I know you love being outspoken, but there is a difference in being outspoken and being outright rude.”
That was a turning point in my life. I realized that yes, sometimes people want to hear hard opinions. But they don’t want to hear them in a way that makes them feel belittled.
After that revelation, I started to make some changes. I realized I didn’t want everyone to be like me. (How miserable would that world have been?) I just wanted each person to be herself.
My friend taught me a valuable lesson that day. She taught me I was not above criticism. None of us are. But we shouldn’t be force-fed someone’s opinion. We should find ideas and opinions because we are seeking them, knowing that they were shared with compassion.
In an ironic way, I think I had always wanted someone to find the nerve to say those things to me. I was seeking an opinion that no one else had ever given me. And I think I pushed people to their limits with me, hoping that someone would be honest. In return, her honesty pushed me right back.
I will always respect her for that.
In a similar approach, that is what this website is all about. I want to see each of us pushed to our limits. Not in that rude, overbearing way. But in a way that motivates us to make changes.
For a few minor, boring details (boring to readers, exciting to me), I am a woman who is lucky enough to be married to her best friend and to be the mother of beautifully flawed children.
I try daily to use the past to help me with present decisions that can help me become a better person, wife, mother, daughter, and friend.
It can be hard to think back on our muddy roots, huh? We like to think that, like the water lily, we have overcome the murky water. But by acknowledging our source and the murky water on which we rest, we can realize our true beauty.
Yes, it is true that just as most people admire the flower, and the frogs use the leaves to navigate the pond, most people may never know what lies beneath the part of us that they can see.
And unfortunately, the deeper we go into the pond, the murkier the water can become. This can make it difficult for the people who rely on us or admire us (or maybe even abuse us) to see why we are what we are.
I have loved, and I have lost – friends, parents, and sometimes myself. But every day, I make a serious effort to learn from the past without dwelling in it. To use, as they say, the bricks thrown at me to make a solid foundation for success.
I don’t know everything. I will never claim to – not anymore. I will not have all of the answers. But my heart’s desire is to build a website with strong messages that can spark thoughts in each of us that can lead each of us to our own truth.
The truth is not always easy to give (or receive!). But we must love and respect one other, even with our murky past and muddy roots. There is room on the surface of this pond for many flowers.
We can learn from one another. To help each other grow and take pride in our muddy roots. I look forward to hearing what you have to say, just as I look forward to sharing my ideas with you. Just remember, the goal of this site is to help each of us feel better when we leave than we did when we arrived.
The lessons we learn are sometimes difficult. But hot fire makes hard steel. And mud nourishes water lilies.
We must never forget that.
“How can I contribute?”
If you ever have anything to say, please leave your comments on articles, email with ideas or suggestions, approach me with your ideas for a guest post, or ask for advice. I can post your anonymous question with my response, and we can get ideas from other readers. (I will never allow comments that insult or defame another human being.)
We are all in this together.
A Little More Info
I believe experience matters most. But a little book knowledge certainly can’t hurt.
I have a bachelor’s degree from The University of Tennessee with significant coursework in Psychology and Education. This includes: Psychology of Women, Psychology of Substance Abuse, Psychology in the Workplace, Brain Development, and Learning Theory.
I also hold a Master of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences from UTM. This degree program provided graduate coursework and research in the following areas: Women’s Studies, Child Development, Learning Theory, Multicultural Issues, Human Sexuality, World Hunger, and Professional Communication.
I have several ideas for fiction floating around in my brain. I’m taking them on one at a time. Maybe some day in the future, I can share a finished work with you.
Until next time,