Her Garden of Self

And in her danced the promise of self.
It fluttered like wings of a butterfly,
Its song like the melody of a hummingbird.
But it must be rooted somewhere
Because too much self without soil
Could not grow very far at all.
So she was planted to begin grounding
And she grew as she was told
Staked among uniform roses
Transplanted on the promises.
She had done rightly good,
Her growth showered with praise
Her buds remarked by many.
But the fluttering had stopped
There was no song
Her leaves and flowers and fruit
Were deceiving to the naked eye
Inside her were thorns and rot
Devouring the self she once knew
And she herself had not realized so
While pretending to be as the other flowers.
But one day she hid from the sun
And she stopped drinking the water
Which was given plenty
And she renounced the garden.
She would not yield anything for harvest
Instead she would lay dormant
Almost not existing at all.
But in her, there was a single seed
That would be carried away on the whim of the wind.
The tiny seed would find new soil
Rich with internal fertility.
And she would begin to bloom again
Not how she had been cultivated
In the Garden of Should
But in this new Garden of Am
Nourished by not the expectation
But by the reality she was to create.
She would grow in virtuous sinews
Weaved in trellises of purpose.
And she would truly be revealed
And revived
As her truest self
Realizing that she had never
Been as the other flowers were
But something unique and beautiful
That had not existed before.
And she was, as she had once been
Filled with flutters
And songs of hummingbirds
Realizing they were all pieces of her
As they came to fellowship.
In this moment a dewy realization hydrated new understanding,
She had once pretended to be a flower
When she had always been meant to be a garden.

by ashleechesny

Above all things, I am a storyteller on a mission to use my gift of gab and storytelling to strengthen women and nurture children all over the world. For children of color, I created the literacy nonprofit, Genius Patch and publish children’s books. I’ve been lucky to win some awards for my work with children and even luckier to be known as “Mrs. Ashlee” throughout Detroit, Washington D.C and Central Region Ghana.

For women, I wrote my first book, “Oh Sh*t, I’m Thirty! 100 Real, Wise and Hilarious Things Every Woman Should Know to Own 30 Like a Boss”. Women of all ages have given rave reviews for the book. In October 2018, my work was featured on Made Magazine for their special women’s edition.

I spend lots of time obsessing over Zora Neale Hurston's life and work. In fact, I've become quite the expert reading over 2500 pages on Zora, letters written by her and her work. For the past 3 years, I've presented on Zora at Michigan State University.

On top of that, I’m a mom to one brilliant 3 year old and a wife to one supportive husband. I love coffee, movie butter popcorn and binge watching my favorite shows once a week.


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