Shireen Fashion Blog
The Weed, The Wicked & The Wardrobe
Posted by Shireen Sandoval 02/28/13, 4:15pm
Like most relationships, it started innocently enough. We talked over email. Sometimes, through social media. Eventually, we met in person. We became acquaintances. Then new friends. I'm not sure what happened, but things changed. I suppose I did. It wasn't overnight, though.
The weirdness started over a "few" text messages that turned into dozens a day; straining my professional and personal life. My phone started buzzing more than a vibrator at Exxxotica (Miami's famous porn convention.) It didn't stop there. Next, it was Facebook. It became a place for this person to live out-loud, inappropriately, with me in the middle (tagging and posting parts of my private life I didn't want to share.) Even Twitter, a medium known for delivering short bursts of actual news and information, became a one-way flight of fancy for my friend to send me unwanted, unsolicited and "no one, but us would possibly understand" messages for all of twitterverse to see. A few would have been fine, but my bird got tweeted up like it was migrating south to do crack, when it was already on an acid trip.
Despite feeling personally suffocated, emotionally stressed, and having my computer bullied into a cyberspace corner, my new friend and I continued to grow closer. I tried taking a step back. I really did. A few times. But when I pulled away, the person aggressively pushed forward, wedging themself unwantedly, deeper into my life. I thought about leaving the country. I joke, but I actually did. A few times, on assignment for Deco Drive. It didn't matter, though, how many times I circled the globe: communication this day and age knows no bounds and I obviously had no boundaries. The thing that bothered me most, besides having my life completely and utterly infiltrated, was: I knew better. It was a lesson I had learned long ago, in my mother's garden.
I was down on all fours. My knees hurt and I was sweating like a prostitute in church (that's a Southern saying.) I, was, mi-ser-able. The smell of grass and soil permeated the air. It was as if Mother Nature herself were punishing me. I was in the garden (and it wasn't Eden.) I was hot, irritated and Kam (my brother) wasn't helping matters any. From a few rows over, he threw dirt at the back of my head, while lackadaisically weeding the zucchini plants. I had the "good fortune" of beet duty. Exaggerating, I screamed: "Mom, Kam's throwing rocks at me!" He yelled back: "No, I'm not! It was just dirt!" My mother, who was hunched over a tomato plant, shot us both a look. One I'm sure could silence Satan himself. We immediately zipped it. My brother was a lost cause (I knew if I was going to get out of the great outdoors, I was better off saving myself.) So, I got up, dusted the dirt off my jeans and walked over to where my mother was grinding her way through the ground, with a mini-rake. She didn't acknowledge me. Gardening was one of her greatest pleasures and we (my brother and I) were giving her major grief.
I cleared my throat. I knew that she knew "why" I was standing there, practically, on top of her. So, I just got on with it. I launched into a well-rehearsed, thought-out (while whiling away in the garden,) speech about why Weeding the garden was a waste of my time. I mean, I had better things to do with my life. She listened. Patiently. "Besides," I said with snarky ignorance, "plants & Weeds all look the same! I can't even tell them apart." Then guiltily I admitted: "Sometimes, I pull out the plant, leaving The Weed, because I get confused.Then I bury it, deep in the dirt, because I'm afraid you'll get mad." My mom (who was postured in a squat,) turned and looked at me. The sun was shining in her eyes, but she didn't blink. I'm sure she'd already figured the mishap out. She was smart like that. Nonetheless, I was horrified at what ramifications my little confession would have. She dropped her rake, stood-up, took her gardening gloves off and wiped her forehead with the back of her hand. Uh-oh, I thought to myself, the Weeds weren't the only thing getting whacked that day.
My mother must have been weak from the heat, because all she did was smile and replace my wisecracking words with her wisdom: "Shireen, sometimes things that look the same, can be very different and it's really important to be able to tell them apart." She went on: "A Weed is capable of stopping a plant from reaching its full potential and even though it seems harmless, it isn't." I was shocked. A little confused, too. I asked: "How can I possibly tell them apart?" She replied: "It takes time, experience and close examination." My mother also said: "The Weed can steal moisture, nutrients, even sunlight, from what's good in the garden." She paused thoughtfully, then wrapped up her lecture with: "Weeds aren't the worst thing that can happen. They just don't work in a plants life. That's all." Years later, I would grow to learn - my mom wasn't just teaching me how to get rid of troublesome plants that day, she was actually teaching me how to root out negative people from my life. She wanted me to know, if I let the wild and unruly become all consuming (because I couldn't turn away from the toxic,) The Weed would eventually turn into The Wicked.
The Wicked looks and acts a lot like a friend, but to the homo sapian species, it can actually be a foe. It's a person that stops you from reaching your full potential with negative energy, intense interaction, and draining behavior. They may seem harmless at first, but they're not. It's confusing, even shocking, when someone sucks the life out of you, leaving you to wilt, all while being your "friend." It takes time, experience and close examination to know when it's happening. It's really important to be able to tell a friend and a foe apart. If someone blocks your sunlight, eventually you feel stunted. You start shrinking, shriveling. It's nature's way of telling you to move in a different direction. Toward what's right, what's healthy, and away from the bad and the barren. You can't just let anyone into your greenhouse to watch you grow and blossom. You have to protect your sacred ground, so the good isn't taken from your garden. If you choose your seeds wisely and plant the right relationships, they'll grow and flourish. If you let The Weed become unruly and wild. Your plant can painfully become unplucked and reharvesting (regathering yourself) is never easy.
I'd gotten pretty good at keeping the garden of my life Weed-free, but this one slipped by me. My new friend looked ripe and smelled delicious. I'm sure Adam & Eve thought the same thing when they bit into that juicy apple. They probably thought it would be amazing. Instead, for the first time, evil saturated their palates and they were forever changed. I practically swallowed mine whole. If only I had dug a little deeper, sifted through the soil a little longer, perhaps I would have smelled the poison, or tasted it on the tip of my tongue. Now, I know why they say: "You should chew before you swallow." Though dissatisfied, I still digested the relationship. That's when it happened. The toxins that were slowly, steadily, seeping through me "accumulated," producing a human-like herbicide effect. As the chemicals (naysaying energy,) kicked in (stopping my photosynthesis,) my defense mechanisms kicked up. I felt incredibly bad (sometimes sick) in the presence of this person (online and in life.) I needed to find some fertilizer fast.
My nutrients came by way of a box. It was a gift from my stylist (Shari). Something to add to The Wardrobe of my ever-changing life. I opened the present, pondering: "What could she possibly have gotten me now?" I dug through the tissue paper and pulled out the prettiest pair of pruning shears. They had sleek black handles that sprouted into stainless steel scissors. On the inside of the instrument, my intials were engraved in an elegant font. My face flushed at her kindness. Shari knew I loved arranging flowers; it's one of my Favorite Things. As I clasped the clippers, nostalgia took hold and no, the irony wasn't lost on me. I was transported back in time, to my mother's garden. I remembered her Weeding and carefully watering one of her favorite plants, me (with knowledge,) in hopes - I would one day - be able to weather any storm (like this one.) Even though my green thumb (temporarily) failed me, Shari (unknowingly,) handed me the answer. There's nothing like the voice of your mother and a good dose of manure (nuturing from a friend,) to help you make-up your mind.
Did you know if a Weed cannot overgrow a plant, it silently releases toxic chemicals into the ground, killing it. I'm not saying you'll die from a bad relationship, but they can be really unhealthy and leave you with a heavy heart. Remember, The Weed abhors vegetation & The Wicked will not be happy to see you bloom where you're planted. The Wardrobe however, gave me the strength, to reach deep inside myself and yank out the root of what was wrong in my life.
For the record, my new friend - who's old news now - isn't a bad person. They just didn't work in my life. That's all. Heed the warning of The Weed, The Wicked & The Wardrobe with your own set of gardening tools from www.MarthaStewart.com