I am so far from nature right now.
I am on a plane heading back to suburbia, Orange County California, where everything is pretty much manicured, ready for the next close up camera shot. I find this funny in some ways. I find this funny because that’s how a lot of life is now. Manicured, edited, perfected, ready to go at a moment’s notice. There are plenty of apps, filters, and captions, to make everything exactly how we want it to look.
Before my job at Los Alamitos High School, I taught middle school at Ensign Intermediate and from the first day I walked into the classroom, I noticed a few things that have spurred me on to write this reflection:
So what does this have to do with nature? Well, let me get back on track here. Lefkada Greece is one of the most beautiful places I have seen: The ocean is a beautiful, clear, blue-green, with rocks layering the bottom of the ocean, small waves lapping the shores, and bright sail boats coasting on the surface. The rocks are sharp and hurt to walk on barefoot but it’s worth it to get into the cool water. To top it off, the ocean is surrounded by HUGE mountains with wild greenery all over the place – untamed and unapologetically wild in the best sense of the word. There are no track homes in Lefkada – people seemed to have just built a place to live whereever they saw fit. The roads are gravel and curl up and down mountainous terrain, and barely fit one car, let alone two. So basically what I am getting at is that Lefkada is simple in the best way – it does not want to conform to the rest of Europe. Lefkada is happy continuing on as it always has – a little different and wild.
Comparing Orange County, California to Lefkada, Greece, it seems that we have different standards of what is beautiful, practical, and appealing. It seems that we have gotten so caught up with making things LOOK natural and beautiful, when they already are in their own right. I am not saying that I want Orange County to change into Lefkada or vice versa. But what I am saying is that our day- to – day lives (most likely) tend to look more like Lefkada’s wild terrain rather than Orange County’s parks, gardens, and outdoor shopping malls. Don’t get me wrong, I am so guilty of this too. The editing, the captions, the outfits, all of the things. But I really want people to see the life I live as real, not all fixed up. I want to still be known, and loved, and understood. Despite these desires, I still put up this front. So here’s the challenge – how do we expect people to really know us, and understand us, and love us, if we keep putting up this front, whether it is on social media or not?
Let’s keep it real ladies. Natural is beautiful and whatever crap you’re going through is real. The acceptance will come but we have to learn to accept ourselves, our untamed and unapologetic, wild selves.