Spider Problems: A Girl, Her Garden, And Her Mental Health

I have been having spider problems lately.

I have a garden that I’ve started since I moved in to my current apartment last year. With dreams of a lush oasis, I have always fantasized about gardening in my own little space somewhere- nothing fancy, just enough space to physically see the fruits of my labor.

My garden is over a year old now and was previously thriving. The seasons have changed, and my little herbs have started to show signs of stress. I have been trying to love on them extra hard to compensate, and the additional water misting has attracted gnats… and with gnats, came the spiders- there to save me from the annoying buzz of flies.

In the Akan folktale of Anansi The Spider, Anansi- the god of all knowledge of stories- takes the shape of a spider. Anansi is known throughout the diaspora as a trickster of sorts, utilizing illuminating parables to outsmart presumed stronger opponents. He often is also fabled as an entity that is able to use its opponents’ weaknesses against them, transforming their flaws to virtues.

My life currently has been plagued by Anansi’s. Things have personally been feeling like attempts to thwart any efforts toward the internal progress I have been trying to make this year. I mean- 2020 is just shitty for everyone, but it’s attacking my mental health and more urgently, testing my grandmother’s health as well.

Anyone who knows me can see she is a HUGE facet of my upbringing and has always been my rock- the strongest woman I know. Her story will be written one day I promise, but right now I’m just trying to understand why I’m so pensive about her current health state. I had previously refused to consider her mortality out of fear but, this year has forced me to do so almost constantly. These physical manifestations of Anansi via the spiders in my home have been definitely forcing my introspection.

Like my garden, I have been trying to pay extra care to tending after my triggers and momentary anxieties.  I am being stressed, and in being so, am attracting flies- feeding the spiders sent to force my growth and initiate the battle of my intrinsic fears.  I haven’t been truly healing by ignoring this, just soldiering through obstacles that often have forced further self-discovery and evolution.  I have become a personification of my garden.

I may just be philosophical and viewing things too deeply, or maybe these are the messages my ancestors are whispering to me…  Let me now sincerely tune in and and listen.

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