I announced on social media today something that will likely surprise those of you who have been following us for awhile: We've closed our storefront and relocated our studio. We're still delivering flowers (we're knee-deep in dahlias today!), still designing for weddings large and small, and have a couple large projects in the works that blessedly, we now have time to focus on.
The first question everyone seems to ask is, "Are you okay?" The truth of it is, I'm not sure I've ever been better. I am happy, and I know to my core that this was the right decision. Of course, that leads to the second question, which is "why??"
The "why" is multi-factored and is going to require me giving more of myself to you than I have in the past. Fair warning: this is distinctly "woo" (ie. spiritual or otherworldly topics), but it also speaks to the expectations and struggles of navigating life as we know it today. These are critical pieces of who I am, how I run my business, and why I make the decisions I do--not typically things someone would share in a professional capacity.
Call it a canon event for a 40-something year old woman, but.... I don't care about propriety anymore.
I encourage you to read through this writing. If any of it resonates with you, stick with me. If not, don't worry. The flowers and farming aren't going anywhere, so you'll still get plenty of gratuitous flower photos.
My Tower Moment
Nearly five years ago, I experienced something so painful, I completely lost myself. I lost control of absolutely everything in my life—I thought—and had no idea how to save myself. It felt unequivocally like drowning. At the same time, it felt like someone had struck a match, dropped it on me, and as she walked away, flames licking at my heals, called out “You take care of yourself now.”
You take care of yourself.
I felt so ill equipped to take care of myself. All of my spoons were going to my two year old who was also showing signs of needing extra support, so I used him as my life raft. And I farmed.
I would put him to bed at night, slip on a headlamp, and carry buckets to my field to harvest for the next day. I began offering farm stays because my house was more than large enough to section off a portion for guests. I went through idea after idea as the pandemic wreaked havoc on small businesses. I didn’t just overwork. I didn’t just commit to the business. I BECAME my business and my business became me.
Feast & Flora continued to grow, and I absolutely pushed it in that direction. At some point this year, though, I started to wobble on my tracks. Like I was hurdling so fast, the pieces of me were beginning to fly off. And then……life started hammering me with…life. The death of a pet and the terminal illness of another. Maintenance issues with our building that went on and on. But the worst was the loss of two friends, one a former classmate and the other, a former student. Each death was horrific in its own way. I went to my student's funeral, the most awe-inspiring service I’ve ever been to, and felt bathed in this heady cocktail of grief and overwhelming love and hope. I was left reeling for weeks afterwards.
I've glossed over the gory details, leaving out some things entirely too personal, but by August, it felt like a layer of my skin had been removed--raw and vulnerable. The tradeoff was that I began to see clearly all of me--everything I want my life to be and everything I want to be.
And what I didn’t want was the life I was living.
At least not in the way I was living it. I was so consumed with work, yet I was far removed from the parts of this business I'm most passionate about. More importantly, I lost track all these other really amazing parts of me. I’m a great mama to one of the funniest humans I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. I am a fascinating cocktail of neurodiversity. I am an artist. I am a caretaker. I am a compass. I am those glasses that finally get lowered over your eyes that bring everything into crystal clear focus. I can move mountains and I am capable of things beyond my wildest dreams.
Psst....And SO. ARE. YOU.
But I digress. I eventually had to confront this tangle of emotions head-on, and what I finally understood was that I needed to make some major changes or else risk drowning in a sea of burnout and grief.
In August, I was offered the opportunity to be released from our lease. I do not believe in coincidences, so I took it. What happened afterwards was in a way shocking but also so validating. This huge change came rapidly and with ease. I suddenly felt able to breathe again, to find my joy again. And in the way I have found it does when you locate your footing and move in the direction you're being guided, I had all the confirmation I needed that this was the right move for us. Of course, our fall wedding and event season is kicking into high gear, so we while we don't quite have the luxury of relaxing, we DO have the luxury of finally being able to focus on the parts of this business we love the most.
I have so much more to share with you, but since
this is an incredibly busy event week, I will leave you with this: Everyone goes through traumatic events, but how we process and move forward (or IF we process and move forward) really determines so much about the rest of our lives. If I leave you with nothing else from knowing me, I want you to know and believe that incredibly lovely things can be born of what feels like nothing but ugliness.