I’ve never been one for self help books but these last six months have been tough, so recentIy I’ve been trying a lot of new things – going to bed earlier, getting up earlier, ditching Netflix, going semi vegetarian, gratitude lists and yes reading self help books. My current one is ‘the unexpected joy of the ordinary’ by Catherine Gray. She dedicated it to ‘all the ordinary, average, regular folk out there who feel like they’re failing, but who are actually winning.’ It resonated because sometimes you feel like you’re doing everything right, but for whatever reason, and often due to circumstances beyond your control it’s just not working. And it’s frustrating, because we can only see moment to moment and we don’t know how things will change or what action we take will actually lead to the change we want. Still it’s helped me see my business in a new light and what I’ve realised is that what we do isn’t ordinary at all, it’s really quite extraordinary. We’re a small town florist, we don’t operate in a big city with access to flower markets, we don’t work from a pristine store, none of us are trained florists and we don’t operate like a traditional florist. All of us are fairly ordinary, living quite ordinary lives with our families in an ordinary little town. There’s nothing particularly flashy about who we are, what we do or how we live. But what we create is beautiful and we do it in a way that is honest and speaks to us, not like a cut and paste florist shop, but a florist that loves flowers and knows how to create work in our own signature way. Like a chef with their own restaurant, you can tell the difference between those who love food and love to create, and those who simply follow a recipe. Still for a long time I have always sold us short.
For the first two years when someone came into the store and complimented me on it, I’d shrug it off and say something about how I still needed to do this and that and I’d apologise for the mess. Now I try and bite my tongue, because I don’t need to apologise for the mess – we’re a florist workshop and mess comes with the territory. I don’t take compliments well but I’m learning to. Even so considering how far we’ve come in just three years I still look around and see everything that needs doing. New shelves because the current ones don’t quite work (to be fair I had no idea at the start how the shop should be laid out and I couldn’t afford to fit it out properly) and we have garage carpet that is a pain to vacuum and I’d desperately love to rip up and replace with polished concrete, petals and leaves everywhere, but it’s a beautiful mess because it speaks of dreams and possibilities. So I look around at my very ordinary shop, feeling quite overwhelmed and inadequate and then I look up and I see rows and rows of dried flowers hanging and it’s like a beautiful forested ceiling just waiting to be harvested. And I realise then that my shop isn’t ordinary at all, I’ve created something quite incredible. And I look at the dried arrangements on the shelves and the wreaths on the walls and I look back at my Instagram photos and I realise we make magic. I love what we do what we do, and I know that it’s special because I look at photos of it and think who is that florist, I’m so glad it’s us.
So my goal this year is to embrace my ordinary, not be embarrassed by it, or feel inadequate that I’m not that beautiful High Street florist, posing with my bouquets in my pristine shop and pouting at the camera. I’m the slightly harried florist, with the mad, booffy greying hair (honestly I can’t be bothered with dying it and was quite pleased when covid came along and made not dying your greys a ‘thing’) who’s always losing her clippers. We’re all told how it’s about being real now, doing away with the filter and the posing and the editing so this year I’m going to stop apologising for things that aren’t actually problems and embrace the fact that I’m right where I want to be with wonderful people I love going to work with and a family I love coming home to in a little town that’s just right for me.