I know it’s been a long time since I have written, probably record-breaking. I am feeling inspired tonight, though. So here is my gift to you all:
This year, for me, has been a year of growth. Not only am I growing plants successfully for the first time in my life, I am growing in my faith, in myself, and in my relationships with other people. It seems that this year, however, each time I grow a little, something comes along that makes me wilt again.
Something I’ve learned from caring for plants is that they tell you exactly what they need, most of the time. Something I’ve learned about my mind and body this year is that it tells me what it needs, most of the time. A fresh pot of soil. A little water. A lot of water. Some sunlight. A nap. A long, relaxing bath. A shoulder to cry on. An uplifting talk with a friend. A do-nothing day. Exercise. A hug.
I am learning to be kinder to myself this year. I am learning how grateful I am for all the people I am blessed to have in my life. Through all the tears I am watering myself with and through all the light shining through my loved ones, I have somehow grown without even realizing it.
For me, periods of growth are always marked by the moments where I feel content with the good and the bad happening in my life. After months of restlessness, uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and heartache, I have begun to take note of where I am each day, and to distinguish that good and bad days are not always one or the other. What GOOD happened today? What BAD happened? It’s okay if today I experienced a bit of both.
For the enjoyment of my plant metaphor, I think I should start from the bottom. My roots. If it weren’t for the foundation of faith laid out by my family, I don’t know if I could have survived 2020 thus far. I find that on the days I am tired of wilting, I reach, reach, reach for the sun, or in other words, the Son. There have been times this year I felt extremely close to the Lord, and times I have felt so distant and lost. There have been dry periods of prayer, and periods of prayer full of nutrients that throw me deeper into my faith than ever before.
My stem. My strong support system of family and friends. A boyfriend who is always there to pick me up when I’m down, who doesn’t let me apologize for the way I feel each day, and who constantly reminds me of who I am. Parents who take my phone calls at any time of the day, who hug me when I am upset, and who teach me perseverance and resilience. Friends who listen to my problems without judgement, only empathy and concern.
I have new leaves. I’ve tried new things this year. I am experiencing my first-ever personal therapy and I love it. I’m in my third semester of my graduate program in counseling. I get to learn how to help myself and how to help others at the same time. I am learning to set boundaries, to not give too much of myself to work, and to allow myself to take breaks when I need them. No guilt. No negative self-talk (this has been difficult, but I’m working on it).
My biggest issue is, I keep waiting to “bloom.” I’ve always killed plants that have flowers, because when they aren’t in bloom, I think they’re done, and that I need to overcompensate to “save” them. I grew up with way too many expectations for where I would be at a certain age, this age in particular (24). I thought I would be married, with a home, and a full time job right now. For a while, I have compared myself to others, and was never content with where I am at. “Blooming” for me always represented the end-all, be-all. My marriage, my home, my kids, a job I love, all at once. Now, I realize that plants bloom in different seasons. There are many milestones I get to experience with loved ones by my side. I get to see my close friends “bloom” through their own milestones.
Plants still have life in them when there are no flowers to showcase. My life still has meaning when I am working toward my goals. While I am in seasons with no flowers, I must keep taking care of myself, keep growing, and stay grounded in the present, so that I can fully immerse myself in the happiness to come later.
To any and all of you reading this, thank you for being a part of my growth. Thank you for taking the time to read about it. I hope that my words are the water or nutrients you need to grow a little bit, too.
With love and blessings,