Ndulge Earth

Evolve or dissolve? These are the choices we face, every moment, of every day, and 2020 is taking no prisoners. Both options sound equally terrifying, but does it have to be? When something isn’t working, what do we do? We adapt. When something doesn’t fit, we don’t force it. So, why do we settle for being stuck on the puzzle? Why are we so afraid of building a better tomorrow? Why are we so afraid to let go of what is no longer working and move forward with a new idea or concept? Is it the fear of failure or the fear of change itself? But at the end of the day, it’s a choice we are all required to make in a world that is ever-changing.

I was 17, a greenhorn in life when I was first faced with the choice to evolve or dissolve. I grew up in a small town in Georgia, riddled with racism, bigotry, and disdain towards anything that didn’t fit the mold. My mother, an immigrant from the Philippines. My father, a doomsday prepping Scottish highlander. My brother, an artist instead of an athlete. Then there was me, the hodgepodge hippy. We were outsiders who didn’t fit the “mold”. I grew up being told, “you’re weird…you don’t belong here.” They were right. I am weird. I didn’t belong there. I was a unique puzzle piece, who didn’t belong to that particular puzzle. I belonged to one much better: my own. So, when I was faced with the choice to adapt or die. I chose to

die. Not in the biological sense, but I refused to adapt to my environment because it was not an environment conducive to my success. I chose to let go of the past. I was letting that part of me die, so I could be reborn. So I could evolve into the woman I knew I was destined to become. So, I did what any inexperienced 17-year-old would do, given the opportunity. I packed my bags, the little money I had, and moved to Charleston, SC where I journeyed through many firsts: first apartment, first career, first marriage, first child, first divorce, and surviving as a single mother. One of the many journeys that transmogrified me. The doe-eyed little girl from Hartwell, GA had grown up: evolved into a woman. I wasn’t afraid of the journey or the process. I simply dived in and embraced it. The evolution of my body, mind, and spirit was a powerful freedom. It was my freedom.

Ten years, true love, second marriage, second child, and some career changes later… I found myself surrounded by the perfect life on paper. I had left my career in Financial Management, to become a housewife. Something I had never envisioned for myself. Big house, nice cars, two beautiful & healthy

children, a life of excess, and a husband who worships the ground I walk on. I was a 1950’s American wet-dream but buried deep beneath the money, the love, the stability, and freedom, I was a massive black ball of depression. I would plaster on that suburban smile while being stalked by the shadow of mental illness. “It’s just postpartum depression…I’ll get over it,” I’d tell myself. Then it was, “I just get sad sometimes…it’s okay.” Until one day, all of the anxiety and all of the depression swallowed me entirely and I was furious with myself. I had everything that many have died for or would die for. I was grateful for my life…so why did I feel this way? I was sick. I was sick and no one knew it, including myself. I didn’t understand what was happening to me; so I sought the advice of someone who could help: my doctor. This is a huge step for me since I typically refuse to seek any form of medical attention for myself unless I’m essentially near death. When the word, “depression”, escaped his lips, I cried (another thing I typically (refuse to do). I cried because I was relieved. I was grateful to have an illness that can be treated with proper support and the right medications. I was grateful that the time in history I lived in had the science and technology to address an illness that had been ignored for centuries. There was a factual scientific explanation for why my brain was misbehaving. With the guidance of my doctor and months of exploring medications, therapy, and natural techniques…I slowly unraveled the ball of depression I was drowning in. I died in the ashes and was reborn an evolved creature of creation. I now had the strength to break the mold and make my own. I built a successful home bakery: Bomb Bakes Bakery ; an apothecary: Fox & Crane Apothecary , and developed a solid reputation as a talented artist and creator. I dissolved my depression into an entity that was no longer a match for the power of my evolved spirit.

Three years later…with 30 years of successes and failures and a now semi-properly functioning brain under my belt, I was the proud owner of a creative empire with my fingers in many pies, figuratively and literally. Then an unexpected visitor arrived…COVID-19; and the entire world came to a sudden, catastrophic halt. Businesses were forced to close their doors…which for most small businesses was a death sentence. Families were now faced with no income and no way to feed themselves or keep their homes. Many people were forced to say goodbye to loved ones claimed by this relentless virus. For my family, COVID-19 meant temporarily closing my businesses and the uncertainty of when we could reopen or if we would even be able to ever again. I watched talented creators and business owners in my town, my state, my country, and the world close their doors with the same uncertainties…and worse, some closed forever. That’s when the lightbulb in my brain said, “Wake up! We’re going to change the world and here’s how!” I whipped out my whiteboard of organized chaos and after many sleepless quarantine days and nights filled with blood, sweat, and tears…” The Fox & Crane Spirit Collective” was born and joined forces with the rest of my living, breathing empire. As I watched my country dissolve, I put my foot down and said no more. I refused to dissolve this time. I am an ever-evolving force of nature and nothing can stop me.

Housed by Fox & Crane Apothecary, the Spirit Collective is an army of handpicked artists, artisans, creators, and businesses we support, encourage, and network with; a coalition of skilled individuals to take the world by storm. A village of creative misfits, standing together in uncertain times, fighting, not for revolution, but for evolution. We are humans advocating for humans. Artists supporting artists. Creators creating with other creators. Healers helping healers. We are women, men, non-binary, hetero, and LGBTQ. We are a palette comprised of colors from around the globe, we are rich and poor. We are the future. We are The Spirit Collective. Every member of our Spirit Collective supports a different charity or nonprofit organization they are passionate about. Each creator’s own personalized section onthe Fox & Crane website includes information about their small business, direct links to their own platforms, and direct links to their chosen passion project. The goal of the Fox & Crane Spirit Collective is to build a movement for evolution. To help others swallow their fears and self-doubts so we as a society can adapt to any state of the economy, embrace growth, and pass it forward by supporting causes that will help evolve our society and rekindle the spark of human empathy that has been buried in the rubble of bad media and politics for far too long.

Pump your fist for your passions. Stand your ground for what you believe in. Become the phoenix of your situation, rising from the ashes, reborn with renewed purpose. Your time on Earth is finite, so I encourage you to utilize that time wisely and face all your uncertainties with your chin up and embrace your own personal evolution. I am Adrienne McArthur with Fox & Crane Apothecary, and I am evolving.

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