When Living Means Letting Go
What my fight with garden insects taught me about letting go of displays and accepting help
Two days before my vacation, my trip to escape months of depression and anxiety, a trip I’d seemingly been waiting for my whole life, a trip to salvage my heart, and I couldn’t stop the metaphorical bleeding.
The spider mites, feasting on my carefully curated garden, greedy tiny insects, won every battle and were clearly on the way to winning the war, creating black and brown dying spots on leaves who had no defense. My plants, my pride and my facade, lined the thick beige balcony wall of the patio, providing visually appealing greenery, exuding warmth and life to all passersby in the condo community. But they were withering, plants after plant, becoming less attractive daily. As they sat interspersed with ceramic toad stools, shiny green frogs and heavy blue and gray elephants, linked to each other with black wired, soft lights, I desperately managed to keep their leaves thriving. I accomplished to, like in my real life, keep up the display, the performance of vitality to those who cared to look. But behind the wall, my inner garden, my heart, withered; uncared for, depleted, dying.
I’d tried every remedy suggested by the all-knowing google. I tried daily hosing down to remove the eggs. Alcohol to dehydrate the mites and kill their offspring. Neem oil, smelling like dirty socks, saturating the tops and bottoms of the leaves. But the troublemakers refused to die. Every morning I woke with some optimism, however unsupported, some deep-seated part of me refusing to acquiesce to defeat. In the early morning hours, after restless sleep, I’d take my coffee anxiously to the patio, hope inevitably dashed.
Like the work I’d been doing in therapy, I searched for the source. The mites weren’t coming from nowhere. Diligently, I found the culprit: the whole development was literally crawling with them, their telltale webs covering the condo community’s bushes and trees, including those right outside my balcony, adjacent to my ledge. Without the community treating the entire property, my battle on the ledge would continue to be a daily rout, futile. The community had no plans to abate them; while the mites ravaged my sensitive plants, the durable bushes and…