Our lives are our stories, we write them by the minute. Here’s mine… one about a girl who decided that she can change the world. It didn’t start out that way; it began as a rebellion against chaos. A decision to fight the Goodness fight…a quickening that my life was my choice and if any of it was less than right, I had to do something about it.
Turning 30 was a big deal. I started really thinking that I’ve had a good decade to learn from my mistakes, make my life what I want it, not what my parents and culture handed me- ten years to get over my childhood issues, learn to cope with reality as The Boss of what I do. An adult. Who I spend time with, what I do during the day, where I live, all totally my choices at this point.
My job- I’ve had a good amount of time to figure out what I like and find employment that makes me smile. Good there; been gardening professionally, teaching here and there, selling farm goods and homeschooling/homesteading for the past ten years- love that department, I signed up to be present and aware of my children as much as possible when I got pregnant whether I liked it or not, so I decided to like and embrace it and have since really worked on creating the healthiest reality for my children ivd been able to; trying to best prepare them for what lies ahead.
My relationships- Here was a mixed bag. I have an incredible family of beautiful wise and compassionate souls. I love and delight in the unique strengths of my siblings and parents. So blessed. None of us are perfect, but the love, support and connection we have with and for each other is lovely. Those I call friends are all accepting and inspiring people who vary as do the flowers of the wild- all of them I can be Real with, and always feel free to give or receive a meaningful embrace or word of challenge. I am again blessed by their advice, compassion, safety, love and camaraderie through all the wild twists and turns of life.
But my most intimate and close relationship, that with my husband, was a wild card by the moment. I tried for years. The first time he yelled overly harshly and insulted me was about 13 months after our wedding. But I committed to that man, and I wasn’t perfect either- so I stayed and did the best I could. I couldn’t help but see the gold, and to hope through the years; that the low swings would grow less and the good times more. I could always see his point of view too easily, and chalk it up to a good opportunity for personal growth…looking for the impartation in it all, trying to see the good arising from the bad. I would have stayed forever, trying to make him happy, getting over the control, lack of involvement and anger. But one day after a year of increasing negativity and detachment there was a huge explosion. To be brief I will say I ended up moving 30 bales of hay by myself, under the supervision of an man who was either brooding, insulting, or commanding me. I meanwhile told my children that dada was never taught to speak kindly, so we need to love him and keep and show him what love looks like by staying rooted in kindness ourselves, and basically stay quiet or sang peaceful songs until he chilled out. Really I was teaching them to be codependent, to have a savior complex, and that it was perfectly acceptable to demean, ignore, yell, go back on your commitments because something more interesting came up, that women and minorities were less capable, that burning gnarly toxic stuff was fun. They learned good things from they dad; but there was a lot that I said was not wise with my mouth- but completely approved of with my complacency.
I had to do something. One night I hit my limit. I was told I only was with him for his money, and to get out of his house. The house we bought because I had credit. The one I struggled to, but managed to pay on time every month for eight years despite lost jobs, my being a self employed, homeschooling homemaker trying to make up for a husband that bought what he wanted and figured I would make it work. The house I painted inside, re-floored myself and cleaned. The one I gardened, build a greenhouse, kept goats and made into a beautiful little urban farm.
I was a whore for his house.
That was it.
I turned to the children: "Do you want to go?”
Moments beforehand I had been telling them to cry more softly so dada didn’t come back in and start yelling again. No mama should ever have to say those words to her children, let alone realize she had said them before. All three nodded at me. We went to my grandmas guest house like we had three years before. Only this time I never went back. My heart was ripped from my chest- to admit that I failed as a wife; that I couldn’t love him well enough, couldn’t seem to have the right mix of boundaries-with-kindness too see him come around to the man I saw inside…to really accept that the man I had come to know was not the man I thought I knew. It hurt. Bad. I thought I would never stop crying.
But I had to keep going, be there for the children, try as much as possible to keep the good parts of our life intact- me being there for them, being outside a lot, visiting family, embracing life, doing it together with good people around us…how can i do that as a single mom?
I committed in my heart to doing Everything I could to keep that going- I picked up a bit more gardening hours, started modeling again for local art classes, taught at the homeschool program. I did the math- I could just barley make it, and my mum has always been gracious to have the children over; her love and commitment to them, being a safe place is such a gift. From time to time I had been making tea and selling it friends, giving it as gifts for years and years; I believe I registered Goodness Tea as my business name before I even started my horticulture business- I think it was my first registered DBA- that would take me back to 2007. Over the years I dreamt of taking my business ventures to a profitable stance: ramping up my landscape design, or maybe selling my tea blends at stores, maybe opening a tea house, fun distant ideas to dream about. Excuses to spend time with friends and make money doing so. Suddenly all these dreams had to become reality. Any notion of “getting a real job” and putting the checklets with a sitter all day resonated with insanity and horror not peace.
I had to put on my creative hat and find a way to make money and have the children with me- farming, homeschooling, experiencing a reality where connection, health, and compassion are at the core of all we do. I looked around me, what I can I do with what I have? I had tea I had bought prior and 100 brown retail loose-leaf bulk tea bags from one of the times I began to run with the tea. Before the harshness of life always pulled me away from making it happen plus my “other-half” generally worked enough that my part-time gardening and occasional teaching would suffice..but this time it was different.
I was at a big open gate and there were a lot of ways I could go- where I went was all up to me. I knew I had to find a way I could have the children with me and make life happen, pursuing Goodness Tea seemed like it was worth a try.
So, without really having any idea what I was getting into, I looked at the Port Angeles Farmer’s market website, and decided to buy a booth space for the year. I was on a three week vacation days after my divorce was final, surrounded by love, encouragement, acceptance and prayers. I had no idea what would happen, but I felt peace when I looked that way, so I keep looking and committed myself to Goodness Tea for a year.
I decided I would throw myself to it with all of my passion and best intentions, doing the best I could with what I had, learning from everyone who would help me and see where it went. Being a tea-baron presented a possibility in my heart and mind to have children present while I made blends, packed our goods, we could do deliveries together, they could help with the bookeeping for math- we could do this….
I had to do something; it Had to be this.
I prayed hard. I asked wisdom to speak to me and sing her song to my heart. Every morning I would practice yoga, a flow of the sunrise salutation with a warrior progression all and sorts of this-and-that-significance through controlled stillness added in, listen to a book of proverbs and a pslam, milk my goats, stand on my hillock cry out to God over the Mountains, Eternal Singer of Reality- pour out my heart and intentions to the Wind, often tears streaming down my face, committing to steward well whatever blessing came to me as a pursued Goodness with I had. Then I'd blow my shofar declaring Victory over my life. Really. I blew it over my home. I cleared the air over my land. I flushed out the stagnant places of my heart and mind. I willed my weak and defeated soul to stand and rise and fight for a change in the atmosphere of my existance. It all felt so epic. Surreal. It still does. Welcome to my world.
Back to our shared reality : )
So I wanted to sell tea at market- but after one week it came to my attention I didn’t have the permit from the county for food, so the next week all I had was some silk scarves I bought and dyed and the feather earring I make…okay, carry on with the dream Shae, don’t give up! I kept going, went to the courthouse and found I needed a $300 food vendor permit and could only blend tea at market, it felt disparaging; but the blessed woman at the country explained to me the way you can do it with tables, how to set up a hand washing and dish station, etc. be a food vendor instead and mix at market. My brother set up an emerency fund for me- it was empowering to see him as an investor believing in me, trusting me to be wise with a gift of money to help me survive this first year with single mom status- so I had the money, and went for it. I was committed to Goodness Tea even more now, $300 my brother trusted me with went toward this idea I had. How could I let him down? It was on.
And so it has carried on. Every person who has come to my market booth, bought something, shared hope, tipped me, given advice... my dear friends who bought scarves, earnings..paying good money for Forever Coupon Gear logo-shirts, scarves and buttons, believing in me, liking my ideas, sharing with me their own…
I am propelled on by love.
Turns out selling tea is a lot harder than one thinks- to do it legit, you need a registered processing facility, documentable flow for ingredients and storage, all sorts of red tape and hurdles. But when you commit to something, you do it. So I have faithfully gone to market every Saturday since December 13, 2014 and to the Wednesday afternoon market. Every time I have tried to make it a little more efficient, a little better, focused but broader, going where wisdom and blessing seem to guide.
Here we are, 7 months in and I sold my house in Port Angeles, moved to a farm in Sequim with a really nice commercial processing kitchen. I am happy, free and driven. A legitimate food processor passionate about local food, quality ingredients and community connection. I have it all lined up and reality organized enough that I am about to step it up and be there: selling teas and all the other fun things I’ve added to my license online and in stores. Mostly working at home, and maintaining the freedom to be there for my children- ultimately working for myself and able to make sure that I feel good about every decision I make, how I spend my time, my money and those whom I let in.
Watch me go.