Contrary to the cooling weather, I’ve been thinking about flowers more and more as I think about this slowly budding relationship I’m in. It’s going slower than either of us* would like (astonishing, I know), but as I mused with him yesterday, some things take longer to bloom, those things usually being very much worth the wait.
A/N: I realized yesterday just how happy and excited I am now that most of my fears have subsided at the idea of being in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship for the first time, as I asked him again about going for that walk yesterday. As it turns out, his life situation is pretty intense. I did offer my support, though, remembering how helpful it was when I turned to friends when I didn’t forget they were there and that they cared for me.
I had the thought, as I reflected on things he said about and to me, how I am like a flower in spirit, as someone who likes to try offering emotion, color, and beauty to the world. A YouTuber once said in an anti-depression video that having flowers around, even artificial ones, brings up feelings of compassion and healing, and studies show that the more children are around flowers and nature, the more they’ll come to care for it. Most churches I go to has flowers both inside and out, there are prayer gardens for people to find peace and refreshment in just about every faith out there, from Zen Buddhist rock gardens to Marian flower gardens.
When you look at all this, one can think that flowers are quite important, but…I couldn’t help not having the thought of, in the practical sense, how useless a flower is to the world.
There was a scene in A Knight’s Tale where William says to Jocelyn how a flower is “good for nothing”, unable to be used for any basic material need for survival, such as food, shelter, and clothing. Her retort was to say a flower never “knocked a man off his horse either” as a jab at him as a jouster, perhaps out of a similar hurt I feel when I remember these words. It’s not without truth; flowers can be trampled on, have their petals plucked, or just ignored, blooming and dying while no one cares.
Most of the tiny flowers I loved as a little girl, the same ones I admire in the grass, or peeking out of concrete, go unnoticed by most folk. Flowers, in the worldly sense, are useless.
These thoughts started to come into my head from that text conversation I was having with my friend; I was very grateful that it wasn’t an audible conversation, because there was a point where I started to cry. Looking at his words, I can see they only offered down-to-earth encouragement about worldly matters of work and finances, as he’s much more accomplished and knowledgable in this area than I am. There was nothing he said that should make me feel that way, but all the same, that old wound reopened and bled. My doctor remarked that this is a good thing, as it means healing can happen in the recognition of its connection with the painful past.
It did bring me back to my parent’s lessons on my own uselessness and incompetence in the world for being such a sensitive, artsy, and girly person, though it also brought me back to a girl I once lived with, who was likewise more versed in the ways of the world than I was, and while we were very close for a while, things grew unbalanced (on both ends, not just with her), resulting in me writing a check for the rest of what I owed for the apartment and never speaking to her since, not even after I left unannounced one day a couple months later.
I thought back to this and other relationships, how my brokenness seemed to ruin it all. Granted, it wasn’t all my fault, but I was also not entirely without blame. I soon felt very ashamed and hurt; how can I ever hope to do what God wants me to when I’m so useless and frail, capable of so little as I am in worldly matters? I thought, as I knit, how nice it would be to be a housewife one day, a stay-at-home mom, but then the world would sneer at me like mother used to, that I’d “have to marry someone very rich” to do that (putting aside that’s what she did, but whatever). I wondered if I just unfit for this world, or if I really was as lazy and sticky-fingered as mother and this girl said I was.
This is the kind of thinking, though, was what got me where I was last October.
My friends and guides often urge me to be gentler with myself. My doctor told me last week how I’m in a time of healing, how that should be my priority. Makes sense; if my wounds were physical ones, I’d probably be hospitalized for a very long time. Last month, I’d probably would’ve been on life-support, flat-lining a couple times. I’d have needed blood donations to help my heart cope, like how my friends and guides did so with their presence.
I won’t be like this forever. I have that hope. This guy has that hope, too. He’s doing what he has to do to make it happen. What I have to do, heal, is often sneered at; nevertheless, it’s what I’m called to do. I have to remind myself, again, how my parents didn’t heal, and instead were very accomplished adults in the worldly sense – look how they turned out.
It occurred to me that this modern world is very extroverted and utilitarian, making it hard for creative introverts like me and others out there. I’m, in so many ways, counter-cultural. I can’t be anyone else but myself, though, and the me now is doing the best she can while also trying to recover from a lifetime of abuse. The world, and those others who hurt me, tell me that I ought to be doing more, that things like recovery doesn’t matter, that flowers are just weeds. Lives are being cut short every day when people are deemed useless, but well…our modern world has the worst epidemic of mental illness/afflictions, especially that of depression and anxiety, than perhaps the world has ever seen.
A man named Jenova Chen made a game called Flower, as an interactive reminder to our world of steel and stone the importance of flowers, inspired by his experience moving from a very urbanized city to a place green with nature. You play as the wind, picking up flower petals as you go through the fields into a more industrialized place before finding a colorless city, filling it with flowers. There’s no dialogue, no written content, just the experience, and is often praised for its poetry, much like it’s breathtaking successor, Journey.
I’m not sure why I’m the way I am in a time where such qualities are not thought of as very useful or valuable, but well…I can remember one thing the guy said to me, after I shared a bit of my story with him: he lamented that my beauty is something I’m afraid of, when it’s something that “ought to empower [me]”. The word “empower” often makes me wary, though in this case, what beauty I possess, or can create via my writing, music, or artwork are things I ought to see for what they are: gifts. These things shouldn’t be something to be afraid or ashamed of. My experiences make this difficult to see how it’s something to be joyful or grateful over, but no matter how bad that all was (and by God, it was), it doesn’t erase that truth, that I’m God’s daughter first and foremost.
I guess it really is better to just take each day as they come. The Bible often talks about not worrying about worldly needs so much, that the humble lilies of the fields are more resplendent than King Solomon and all his worldly splendor. God tends them with rain, sunshine, and yes, gardeners; they in turn give fragrance and beauty. They just are as they are, and they’re beautiful.
I’ll bloom one day. In the meantime, I got to lean on that support, so I can stand up tall on my own. Whatever my vocation is in this life will unfold in its own time.