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Rocks and Roses

Written by MJ Reporter Willow LaMunyon

What do you find irresistible when you go shopping? For some people, it is shoes. For others, it is tech items or anything "more power." Why, oh why, do they put chocolate in the checkout lane.

I can't pass up pursuing the rose bushes at almost every type of store this time of year. I have no more garden space in my yard, but if I find just the right rose, I will also find a place to plant it.

Despite the beauty and fragrance of roses, they are not always a favorite because so many people choose their preferences in the hope of feeling original, and roses have become cliche.

We try so hard to stand out in a world of cell phones and Facebook friends instead of backyard visits and block parties that somehow, our originality starts looking like a fad. It sounds like an oxymoron that we work to be original but feel delighted when we discover we are not alone in our choices.

Here is the secret to standing out. If you love roses, love them. If your favorite outfit has gone out of fashion and you are concerned that people won't think you're cool if you wear it, wear it anyway. Take away the opinion of others and look into your own heart. Define yourself as you really are, which has so much more to do with knowing yourself than making choices about what you like and what you don't. It is looking into your heart and finding the real you.

Finding the real you is harder than finding your misplaced keys and takes longer. There is no one proven way to learn to know yourself, although countless books have been written about it. Society, our experiences, our successes, and our failures form the way others see us and develop the way we think of ourselves, but have we been formed into a mold that is not us? It is likely that we can't be sure if we are the result of what others try to make us or the persons we were born to be. In my opinion, we are a little bit of both. Thank goodness others are around to teach us the behavior we need to make our place in this world, but it would be nice if they stopped there instead of trying to direct us into the form, they want us to be. Confidence is lost when we try to fit in with what others believe they want us to be.

If I knew the path to finding our authentic selves, I would write another book about it, but the only real advice I have is to live the best life we can, love one another, or at least tolerate one another even when our best selves are in opposition to their best selves. Find better ways to spend our time than being critical of another person's style and stop saying your favorite flower is stinkweed when you really like roses.

Life is full of rocks and rose petals. You are going to have both thrown at you, so you might as well duck when the rocks are aimed your way and dance when rose petals rain down on you.

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