I start every year certain that this is the year I magically morph into a slender, willowy earth-mother type, strong of limb and centred of being. That I’m right on the cusp of becoming the type of person who grows tomatoes and saves the bees and gives up material longings — but stylishly, in a carefully thought-out and ethically sustainable capsule wardrobe.
The type of person who has more tattoos and nicer jewellery, and both of them look better because I also have a tan. And self control.
There are more than a few flaws in this plan.
So, this year, I’m growing lettuces. Start small.
One of them died immediately, and several of the others could be described as “peaky”.
I planted some herbs in a pot I bought in a fit of garden-centre yearning one sunny morning, and then I immediately drowned the mint. It turned yellow and curled in on itself, and then my boyfriend ran over my basil.
It seems like growth shouldn’t be this hard. All over the world, things are sprouting. Living. Thriving. Except for my mint. And this one lettuce. And half of my pot plants.
I’ve had a blog for a long time. Forever, maybe. I’ve had katiejohnston.net for five years, give or take, and before that there were livejournals and other domains and documents and journals, stretching all the way back to 1998. My life has been documented in some form or another since my teens. I’ve never been good at making sense of anything without writing it down.
This last year felt different. Like maybe I’d outgrown whatever katiejohnston.net has been – and it’s been many things. Depository of boredom, experiments in writing, receptacle of feelings. The threads of it were something young, something not-quite-yet: my own inability to navigate the real world, to understand boys and love and sex, to figure out my career and path and writing, to know myself. It’s been a five year exploration in who it is to be me.
And that’s awesome. Was awesome. Is awesome.
But I feel like I’ve worked out (some of) the things I couldn’t work out before. I’ve gained confidence in some of the things I’d wanted to say and couldn’t. I used to think “but who cares what you think about that?”. Now, I’m wondering if maybe the fact that I care is enough.
I quit my job two months ago. I’m fully self-employed now, writing website content for more clients than I can successfully juggle. I used to be terrified to say anything in a meeting in case I was wrong: now I start talking before I have any idea what I’m going to say. I have a really good relationship and a fancy coffee table and no free time at all, and all of that is growth.
The last few months, I wondered if I was done with blogging — or at least with this blog. Up until about a week ago, I was planning to archive this blog altogether and start over with something new. But the more I thought about it, the more I realised all I’d really done is sprout.
It might be growth, but I’m not grown.
So, instead, a name change.
Courage Road is the street my grandparents’ house is on. Their block of land, with its extensive vege gardens and fruit trees and DIY experiments, was the point around which my childhood revolved. It represents the things I want from my life – a connection with nature, self-sufficiency, compassion and kindness. It’s also a statement about how I’d like to live.
What goes here, I haven’t entirely figured out yet. But I’m excited to find out.