I used to pick flowers, a lot. It used to be one of my favourite past times. Friends would often get me rocking up with a wild bunch of flowers when I would go round for tea, or they’d open their door to find a wild bunch on their doorstep if they weren’t home when I popped round. It was my way of appreciating them – the flowers – and my way of showing love to my friends. But now I realise that appreciation doesn’t have to be in a way of destroying, it can be in a way of witnessing and letting be. And showing love can be in so many other ways too – it doesn’t have to be by giving things.
Any kind of flower is one of my favourite things ever and I thought by picking them I was enjoying them and appreciating them. But now I see, as of the last twelve months, it is completely the opposite. Apart from a bunch of buttercups and petals or flowers I have found fallen on the floor, I haven’t picked a flower the whole time. I have occasionally bought a few bunches of daff’s when the spring came, which I fucking loved and appreciated for every day of their life on my mantlepiece and was glad & grateful that I did.
Tonight walking down the road with a friend, she stopped to pick a flower to put in her hair. I had to keep walking. I said something but stuttered a bit, knowing that I needed say something but wasn’t quite sure what. My anger rose and I felt blinded. I was left speechless because I am also aware that my reaction is perhaps not like a normal one. And I know my sensitivities are so very sensitive right now, but fuck it made me mad. I didn’t quite realise until afterwards…until I started walking home and sat with it on my own. One day soon I hope to articulate things like this better. I hope to actually, on the spot, say just what got my beef. To say that it makes me angry when people just think they can pick a flower. That just because it is beautiful, they can have it. And just because it will die soon, they should pick it to be able to enjoy it. That just because there are so many of them, it means we can have them too.
I got home to a flower that had been picked and left on the bathroom windowsill, beautifully laid out. It broke my heart. On my period, I seem to gather an even more maternal edge and feel protective of the world, and myself, in so much more of a greater way. I gathered up the flower petals and stuck them in my journal, above. I appreciated their beauty and will press them and have them there as I read over my writings. But I still felt really sad.
This is something I want to work with in EMDR, and therapy in general. It’s the universal grief. Earth Grief. It’s the anger that rises, not about the one flower my friend picked, but about what we are doing to the world. About the millions of other flowers, metaphorical and real. The entitlement and the fucked up sense of rights that us, as a human race, seem to hold. I want to not shut down or click into a fury so blinding or a grief so motherfucking painful I just go home instead of out dancing, like I did tonight…I want to be able to have this pain here and still continue to appreciate too. I know this comes. I know this is healing – being able to have these feelings and them not floor you or isolate you or leave you stuttering and lost for words. I’ve heard this from my therapist on numerous occasions, sharing from her experience and others too.
Tonight I saw how much I have changed. I saw how much my consciousness has changed. I realise this is therapy…this is one of the side effects. The side effects that the whole world needs. I used to pick flowers because they were beautiful, I used to do just what my friend did tonight – the thing that made me mad and sad – thinking that I was doing something beautiful too. But now I do the complete opposite, and I know this is the kindest and the most beautiful thing. I look back on myself with compassion and with a newfound love for this part of me that’s grown. This connection to the earth and the respect for the living things. I can love something and not have it. I can appreciate it and let it do its thing. I can have my experience and it have theirs, be it a snail or a flower or another human bean.
We don’t have the right to just take because something is beautiful. We don’t have the right to destroy just because we need. We don’t have the right to abuse because it’s easier…because we can’t be bothered to develop and find a solution or another option, benefitting all rather than just ourselves. We just don’t have the motherfucking right, and I am not really sure why we ever thought we did. Nest in the flowers. Sit amongst them and appreciate them. Photograph them and stick the photo on your wall, saying a thank you to clever Mother Nature for growing such spectacular things.
Pick your spots, leave the flowers.