Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Maypop Coffee & Garden Shop is a little hideaway on the outskirts of the city straight from the pages of a fairytale book.
The old brick house, where the baristas work their magic, is charming in its own way. It’s filled with nooks to test out until you find your favorite spot to cozy up with a book. A menu full of coffee drinks and teas ensures you’ll get your beverage fix while you’re there.
After stopping by the house to order your usual, you can pass through the backyard and shortly emerge from a frigid Midwest day to a tropical forest trapped in a room.
Stepping into the greenhouse feels like entering a secret world.
Tables and chairs in the greenhouse are all set for those who want to enjoy their drink among the botanical wonders. Hanging planters and enchanting string lights lace the ceiling above.
The greenhouse is brimming with life in every shade of green. You’ll find trees with fairy lights, palm leaves overhead, and potted plants of all kinds — each with a personality of its own, like the cheerful lemon tree in the corner.
Soft chatter echoes through the room, along with the stream of a watering can.
Choose your favorite plant as a souvenir.
You’ll find delicate, painted pottery strewn about to keep it in.
The do-it-yourself terrarium bar is another option to take a little piece of the wonder home.
To make it a day trip, if you live in the Midwest like me, head to The Book House nearby.
Messy stacks of every genre litter the floors and the shelves are so tall you’ll need a ladder. This Beauty and the Beast experience is the perfect way to cap off a day at the greenhouse coffee shop.
I call myself a writer, but every time I hit “publish,” I get anxiety — not a very good trait for a writer, I know. It doesn’t matter if it’s this blog that I’m completely in control of or an article I’m submitting to my college’s newspaper or an assignment for a class. I have to have a little fight with fear every time.
The fight goes like this:
My brain says, what are you doing, sending your thoughts out in the world? What if they sound stupid? What if you made mistakes? What if everyone can never look at you the same again because of that dumb paragraph? Who are you to write about something like you know about it? You’re only an amateur. Everyone wants to be a writer, anyways. They could probably say it better. You’re wasting your time. Someone else will write this exact same thing at some point, only better.
I run through the thoughts, carefully weighing each one… and then it’s my turn to make a move.
I hit “publish” in one brave swoop of my index finger.
So far, I have never regretted pushing the button, and you know what? It’s gotten easier each time.
Who I am really meant to be is wrapped up in overcoming my fears.
Confronting the hard things that scare me is the gateway to truly being free and truly being myself.
Good grief, that’s frustrating.
Writing has been one of my strengths for as long as I can remember. Ironically, using this strength requires overcoming one of my greatest weaknesses: the fear of vulnerability. My identity is so tied to my strength of writing that the way I see it is if you judge my writing, you judge me. So, publishing anything I write makes me feel very vulnerable.
Each blog post, article, story, and caption is a chance to present an imperfect idea or write something imperfectly, and send the image of perfection I try so hard to put on toppling down. In reality, I am so far from perfect that I laugh. However, that doesn’t stop me from trying to find my worth in the pursuit of perfecting my performance.
At the end of the day, that’s what it is. A performance.
The real me is very weak and flawed. Very vulnerable. The real me is sometimes afraid and self-absorbed and thinks far too much. The real me cares too much about what people think and takes criticism too seriously. The real me is overwhelmed by how true it seems in my mind that I must perform to earn love. The real me just wants to lay on the floor and do nothing sometimes, because the real me has an overactive mind that never stops spinning with intricate thoughts — both colorful imagination and dark anxiety.
Revealing the real me is the only way to slip from these chains of perfection and performance. Vulnerability , which I am so afraid of, is ironically the key to my freedom.
Writing has taught me that vulnerability takes one step at a time, and it gets easier each time.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a blog post about being vulnerable or an article about a coffee shop — each push of the publish button takes courage. Each time, I feel as if I am stepping further into who I was made to be. Each time, I am reminded that it wasn’t so bad after all.
My words were fine. Maybe, my words were even praised.
And every time, my worth remained the same.
So I will keep putting my words out there. I will let people see the real me, one step at a time, and catch my breath every time as I realize they were not scared away. Just the opposite. They were drawn closer to me because of the vulnerability. They were drawn to the reality of who I am — my humanness.