The Logo. A story.
Right after my 27th birthday I found myself on a walk, with my two dogs I never should have gotten. This was shortly after my second cancer diagnosis, which was shortly after my stem cell transplant, which was nearly one whole year after numerous failed treatments, but right around the time I found out I had irreparable lung damage and would be in treatment for my cancer indefinitely. My two long haired doxies that were meant to be my lazy lap dogs. My emotional support dogs who ended up needing a lot of their own emotional and physical support. We were quite the trio. I still wonder why no one discouraged someone who likely wouldn’t live to see 30 to not get two puppies, but I guess how do you tell someone who likely wouldn’t live to see 30 not to get two puppies? But I digress, the three of us were on a sad excuse for a walk. With each physical step forward I was taking one mental step back. Back through all the steps that got me here. Breathlessly trailing behind two demon dogs.
While my mind drifted so did my dogs. To someone’s lawn filled with dandelions. So many dandelions that the green to yellow ratio was more yellow than green. I plucked the tallest one before being yanked by the demon dogs into another direction where I found ‘spiky little clover flowers’ on the opposite side of the sidewalk, and happy little wild violets one house down (Yes, I was picking weeds like a child, it's fine) I took my collection of unwanted flowers home where I immediately doodled those dandelions into my sketchbook. That sketch became a tattoo and that tattoo became this logo.
As with all things meaningless, I must find meaning. It’s actually not as whimsical as it sounds. I imagine it's annoying for the people in my life who have to listen to me speak metaphorically about everything, until the metaphor is so lost I forget what I’m talking about. Which is a pretty accurate metaphor for my life. I like this one though so bare with me...
This was oddly one of the happier times in my life. Mortality has this unusual ability to make the highs really high and the lows really low. This particular moment was a high. Moving a body that shouldn’t be, filling lungs that resisted filling, and picking flowers that were unwanted. With the sun dappling the sidewalk and freckling my face, I closed my eyes and felt the purest joy. For reasons I'll never understand, this was a time in my life where the only uncertainty was my health. I was absolutely certain, and happy, with everything else. I had already lived my wildest dreams owning my own shop. There was such a fearlessness both when starting and ending this venture that I wish I still had. I loved my little shop but it wasn’t something I could leave for my family to deal with when my health inevitably deteriorated again. It had already been two years of sinking my claws into a business that’s prognosis was as good (read: bad) as mine. With absolute defiance to the thought that my cancer would take my greatest joy from me I stayed open. But it’s longevity through those really tough years, where my attendance at work was as sparse as the hair on my head, was at the expense of others. This quick little trip to chemo and back turned into years. I knew I had to, and was ready to, close on my terms. The side effects from my treatment were worsening and working was equally painful. But there was still so much joy in it that I allowed myself one more holiday season, my favorite season, to stockpile as much joy as possible from my employees, customers, and shop: My friends.
I closed my doors six months later in January of 2018 and in March of that year I received my first clean scan. No cancer. Totally unexpected. And with my cancer went all of my fearlessness and certainty. I was told it was only a matter of time before it progressed again, but it didn’t and I stopped my treatments at the end of that year due to worsening side effects. The intention was to give my body a break until I had to resume treatment again, but I’ve been doing something referred to as “watch and wait” in the cancer community, and it feels every bit as scary as it sounds. For over two years I’ve just been ‘watching and waiting’. Scanning and waiting. Watching. Waiting.
I’m still here watching and waiting for my cancer to come back and bring back that fearlessness and bravery that slipped away with my cancer. On my 30th birthday last May, I opened a letter I wrote when I was 26 to “30 year old me”. At home. Alone on the couch while my husband made homemade pizza and chocolate cake for me. While my family and friends, who I equally missed and feared, stayed home where we all remained for the rest of the year. And now, on the cusp of 31, trying to find the tiniest ounce of a bravery that only comes with dying, I found myself very much alive with my tachycardic heart pulling me back to my passion to clothe and connect with people.
And so, with a willful insistence to survive, GorJess & LoveLee and I begin again. This time in absolute fear and uncertainty of possibly being burned, cut, poisoned, or unwanted in this pursuit of our passion. In hopes to flower like the weeds bringing color, confidence, and comfort to others in the most unexpected ways and to do so with grit, grace, and gratitude.
I hope the imagery of this logo serves as the same reminder for you as it does for me: To be as resilient and persistent as these perennials in their pursuit of a colorful life they, and you, undoubtedly deserve.
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