Another plant, another person
I’m staring at my ponytail plant in my bedroom. She looks how this last week felt: blah.
I have no idea if she’s dying. If she’s over watered. If she’s pissed off, sad, mad, hot, cold. I’ve moved her twice over the past month to see if that helped. Google says I’m both over watering her and under watering her. WTF, Googs, which one is it!?!?
We never had plants in my house growing up. We had flowers. Bouquets of flowers for holidays, birthdays, dance recitals, and a few spelling bees. The wonderful thing about flowers is they don’t ask for much. They live and they die and there’s no question of what you did right, what you did wrong or what you could have done differently.
A plant can be hiding so many secrets. She’ll look one way but feel another. She’ll disappear for a few months. She’ll want a bigger home. She’ll develop a preference for distilled water. Plants are work. Flowers are immediately beautiful.
My ponytail plant seems to be testing me the same way my relationship patterns test me. As a newly diagnosed avoidant type, I’m at the place in our relationship where I want to throw her out. Start over. Things aren’t perfect therefore it wasn’t meant to be. I’ll be better off with another plant, another person.
When I am interested or attracted to someone, instead of enjoying the crush that it is or letting it develop naturally, I tend to speed things up. “Let’s get on with it, are we a good fit or not?!” I’ll overtly flirt, I’ll put my feelings out there too quickly, or maybe I’ll have sex with them sooner than I should. Then when it doesn’t pan out to be perfect, or when I make things weird or when the sex isn’t immediately beautiful, I think “Oh well.” I don’t let it bother me much because I didn’t commit too much energy, too much of myself to the situation. It wasn’t a big loss. But put a bunch of tiny losses together and add a few years and now, well, now I’ve lost a lot.
When something takes time, I lose interest. Like when I took Spanish classes for a whole 4 months and was disappointed I couldn’t speak Spanish at the end. “What’s the point?” I thought. Looking back, I know I had a fun time, met great people, and know more Spanish than when I started, yet my immediate takeaway was “I can’t speak perfect Spanish therefore I wasted my time.”
I love results. Too much. I have trouble enjoying the ‘in between’ because I’m always in a hurry to get to the end product. My friend told me about his decision to start growing microgreens in his apartment but not to eat. “So, what’s the point?” I asked him. His answer, he liked the process. As someone who doesn’t have the patience to preheat an oven, I was inspired. If I continued to skip and disrespect the process, who knows how many experiences (and quiches) I would sabotage.
These past few months, after forcing myself to accept patience and room for growth, I’ve seen areas of my life benefit. My small takeaways from therapy every week that have made sense of huge life challenges. The benefits to my mind and body after committing to a dance practice I fought to push away. Big surprise, doing the work works.
Last night I spent 15 minutes picking the brown leaves off my plant. I ran my fingers through her leaves and whispered words of affirmation as my dog watched with jealousy. Her secrets may be revealed slowly, but I’ll be patient. When she’s ready, she’ll let me know. She could still be the right plant for me.
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