My new garden

Battling demons and self-doubt as I forge ahead semi-blindly

Christiana White


Photo by Sorin Gheorghita on Unsplash

I moved recently. In fact, as of today, I’ve been quartered in my new abode for merely a week. And I’m assailed by waves of emotion. Fear, doubt — terror, even. Regret, fear of regret, confusion… and moments of grace.

I have a serious problem with decisions. They’re terribly difficult for me to make, and I tend to second-guess them in a way that is brutal to myself. It’s very painful.

But, I know this about myself. That should help me to navigate it. Theoretically.

Yeah, I’m a basket case. Or, can be, I suppose. My work is to claw my way out, on a daily, or second-by-second, basis as needed. To “do the work” of self-care and self-compassion.

I left my beautiful garden behind at Guido Street, and I miss it.

I’m therefore planting a garden at my new flat, which came with a small (very small) front yard and a bigger back yard almost entirely covered in concrete. Concertina and barbed wire in wide loops define the border at the back, protecting my property from ne’er do wells who may float up from Broadway in Oakland.

It’s not a pretty site. The colorful graffiti tagging the nearby building isn’t so great either.

I recently left what I only now realize was basically a suburb in Oakland to live in a more urban environment. For years, I said to anyone with the stomach to withstand it, “I want to live somewhere more walkable! I want to live closer to the action! I’m tired of having to drive everywhere!”

Well. Now, I do. Live closer to the action. And to cement, and urbanity, and sirens, and trash, and riffraff, and unpredictability. And possibly to danger. Or more danger than my secure enclave on Guido.

There are several reasons I feel insecure in my new flat. One of them is that I’m super exposed to the street. There are no protective plantings at all. No soft borders, no greenery, no screening, no privacy. When the sun comes up in the morning, it glances painfully off the chrome and glass of the cars in the street. I hate that.

I’ve taken action. I’ve planted a California native garden in the roughly 10' by 20' plot. It gets intense morning and early…