June 20, 2016
Remember that time I gushed all over all things southern? If you don’t, you can catch yourself up here to better understand my love affair with the south. While honeymooning with #3 in Charleston and Savannah, I noticed a plethora of pineapples. Pineapple flags hung on porches and peered out front room windows. Plaster pineapples were focal points in archways while those of the copper and concrete variety sat atop fences, walls, and garden gates. They welcomed you on doormats, knockers, and address plates. And for those of you who haven’t noticed, there is a brilliant and beautiful pineapple fountain centered in Charleston’s famous Waterfront park. I was both fascinated and smitten with the abundance and repetition of this delectable fruit. Thanks to modern technology and Google, I quickly educated myself on the historical relevance of the Pineapple in Colonial America.
From what I found, good ol’ Chris Columbus brought pineapple back with him from the new world. Europeans desperately tried to grow this fruit but could only do so successfully using greenhouse methods. Due to the lack of abundance, only the affluent households could afford pineapple and offer it to their guests thereby making the pineapple a symbol of generosity, wealth, and hospitality. As with all things rare, coveted, and expensive, the pineapple found its way into American architecture. Pineapples were sculpted into wood and stone and could be seen both on the exterior façade and internal surfaces of expensive buildings and churches.
Just like me, Colonial America fell in love with the pineapple and its symbolic message of hospitality. Southern hostesses began displaying it as the centerpiece of their tables and then serving it as dessert. Creative food display became something of a competition in the south so much that less affluent families would sometimes rent pineapples from a grocer to create an eloquent dining experience only to return the fruit afterwards to be sold to a wealthier family. Visitors to such a dining experience were sure to feel honored and welcomed because no expense had been spared.
Probably like all things southern, I loved the overwhelming sense of oneness, culture, and pride that I felt and envisioned upon seeing such a beautiful display of unity. Just like the southern pralines that I gluttonously dined on during my week in the south, I took my new love of pineapples westward ho (am I using that properly?). And much like everything else, my association of the pineapple became tainted years later when the man that I chose to experience that beautiful culture with me, turned out to be a big, fat fraud. I realize I sound like a 3-year-old but it’s fine, people.
Over the last couple of years my chest would actually hurt and my breath would catch whenever I saw a pineapple or Spanish moss hanging hauntingly from a tree on one of the many southern themed Instagram accounts I followed. Along with everything else from my time with #3, these southern symbols brought tears instead of warm memories. And I *hated* this. The food and the foliage, the cemeteries and the ghost stories – these were all mine before they were *ours*. These were my interests and desires before I invited him to be a part of them. Why had I allowed myself to lose these in my divorce?
Months ago while making my usual commute home from work and listening to The Power for maybe the 32nd time, an unfamiliar exercise stood out to me. The author begins to instruct her audience to visualize an everyday but uncommon object that you can give love to….or something like this. Her example was a lily. So you think on this and envision it and send love to a lily. And then you start noticing all of the times in your life that you are presented with a lily. And when it happens, you take that as a sign that the universe is sending you love via your chosen medium and you give thanks.
This was a very pivotal point of my ED recovery. I was months into treatment and still fumbling. I was desperately trying to stay present and focused and to change the thoughts in my head that were clearly nutters. This was also a great place for me to be. It meant I was willing, open, and receptive to all means of healing. As soon as I heard her instructions I knew I needed to envision my formerly beloved pineapple. To me, it wasn’t an absurd object but wasn’t overly present in the desert state in which I reside. But more than that, it was my opportunity to change my association with not just the pineapple, but the south, my honeymoon, and maybe even that dirty, little scoundrel.
So I started picturing a pineapple during meditation that wasn’t guided. And then each time I noticed a pineapple somewhere I would silently mutter a thank you to God, to my angels, and to the universe for sending me my chosen representation of love and oneness. But because I’m super creative, I added validation to the list of messages that I would choose to interpret whenever presented with the fruit. I chose to see the pineapple as not only my personal reminder of love but also God and the universe’s way of letting me know that I was on the right path. That I was doing my best and that I would get there. And the beautiful part of this is that I began seeing pineapples everywhere and in the most unexpected places. And do you know what that tells me? It tells me that I can bring beautiful things into my life by focusing on the beautiful, amazing things that are already presented to me…just by seeing them and acknowledging them. And it is my personal testimony that the more I acknowledge and give love and gratitude to the lovely things, the more I will find.
I chose to see the pineapple as not only my personal reminder of love but also God and the universe’s way of letting me know that I was on the right path.
And so now, 5 months later, I see pineapples everywhere. And the pineapples and Spanish moss? Well they’re mine again. And they are lovely and unspotted and disentangled from the hurt. And that dirty, little scoundrel? Well he was present in my life for a purpose and actually pretty ok to experience the south with. And that’s a memory that I’ll allow to be exactly what it was when I experienced it. Glorious.
I look forward to the many unique and fun places that I get to see pineapples in my life. But because I am also proactive, slightly neurotic, and super impulsive I had one tattooed on my rib cage this weekend. Probably not the best course of action for all you looking to manifest love into your life…even still. And dad, if you still read my blog, I’m super sorry about that and please don’t tell mom. And also this is probably a good way to see if you’re still reading my blog.
Much love friends!