This morning when I woke up, it was raining outside. As I listened to the rain hit my window I made my morning coffee. I thought about how my plants were enjoying the nourishment. I recently started learning how to grow plants and take care of plants, something from my childhood. I have found that having something tangible and real outside of myself to care for (not a person and not a pet) has helped me heal a lot of the pain inside of me. There is something about seeing my little seedlings start to break through the dirt, planted in darkness but reaching for the sunlight that encourages my soul. It reminds me of my own growth in this life.
One of the reasons that I like growing plants is that I envision my soul as a flower. Everyone has a different vision for their own souls, but I am a flower. You can pick what you are. I would like to say that I am a Mammoth Sunflower. I choose this flower because as a child, my beloved grandmother grew them. I would play under their giant heads, straining for the sun, shadowed by their shade. I felt like a fairy in my own magical garden playing in the beams of yellowed sunlight cast on the ground by the petals. I would often sit next to her and listen to her tell me about how she took care of these giants, some can get over six feet tall. She even taught me how to pull the weeds out and when they were ready, we ate the seeds they grew. All the effort we put into caring for them and later they nourished us. So, it isn’t just about their beauty, their strength, their fruit, but about the loving memories I shared with my grandmother.
While I have written quite a lot about loving the wrong person, I sit here thinking of those who read this and wonder if this applies to them at all. What if someone was abused? What if someone was assaulted? What if someone had never been in love? What if someone is so broken, they cannot put themselves back together? All the what ifs consumed my mind this morning as I was drinking my coffee, watching the rain. So, I wanted to share a little more about me and my sunflower.
For those out there that have seen the worst in humanity and lived to tell the tale, I understand. I understand the gasping that a person’s soul does deep into the night wondering why this is happening to them when all you want is to be loved. I understand the loneliness and fear that consumes you when faced with the most horrendous acts are carried out on you. I understand the guilt and shame that you carry inside your heart that kills your soul a little every day. I understand. But I also understand that one day, you will be OK. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but growth is a process. Every day is taken one at a time. You feed your flower, you weed your flower, and you grow. You never stop reaching for the sunlight, for what is good and loving in this world.
As a child, learning about gardening from my grandmother, my little seedling of a sunflower broke through the ground reaching for the sunshine. Reaching for all the good in the world, not knowing that there were those out there that would one day trample the seedling of my soul. But what does a trampled flower do, it may be bruised, it may be ripped, it may even be crushed, but it soaks in the sunlight and continues to grow, always reaching for more. Growing towards the light. It may never be the same flower that it once was, but it grows. It may even die, but the seeds from the carpal are planted by nature and will one day burst through the unforgiving ground.
One day, a horrible storm came that lasted for many years. The seedling of the sunflower of my soul continued to grow no matter who tried to stomp on it, no matter who tried to pull it out of the ground, no matter what weeds around it tried to steal its nourishment. No matter who tried to tower over it, blocking the sunlight. My focus was on the sun, not the circumstances. It didn’t matter what abuse, what neglect, what assault, what heartbreak that faced me. My eyes were on the day that I could offer my seeds to those I loved most. I continued to grow in an environment that lacked nourishment (love), that lacked water (creativity), and that lacked purpose. This was because I knew that one day, I would be able to give back to the seedlings around me, when I became a mammoth.
As a teenager, I found ways to nourish myself. I discovered poetry and literature. The flower of my soul grew under the tutelage of the greats like; Henry Wordsworth Longfellow, Robert Browning, Alice Walker, Walt Whitman, and so many others. It was very unusual to see me without a book. If I was without a book, then I was furiously scribbling my own pain onto paper. All this time being creative, the seedling of my soul grew into a bud. I found ways of expressing myself in beautiful prose, rather than writing in a journal (although that did help me) but in prose I was able to twist the pain into something beautiful. I could compare the pain to a stab in the heart, but how that hole allowed the light to shine in the darkness. I was able to get sunlight to my little bud in the most artistic loving ways until I lost my voice.
It was at that time that my abuse got worse and my growth halted. I started struggling to find the sunlight, no matter what direction I went, I was surrounded in darkness. It was like being locked in a basement with no windows, doors, or lights. I tried clawing my way out, but there was no way. I tried screaming, but no one heard. The flower that was my soul shriveled from neglect. I was experiencing a drought of emotions, I closed myself off from the world. Sunflowers are happy, cheerful flowers, my little flower bud was dying and so was my happiness. As I tried to protect my little flower by being strong, it was slowly dying inside.
As a young adult, I tried desperately to save it dying flower, but the Morgan that laid under the mammoth sunflowers staring at their intricate beauty with her grandmother had died. That Morgan was no more and with her the flower of my soul died. The ground that was my own very existence rejected that it could not even keep the seedling that was planted by her grandmother alive. So, I acted like it didn’t matter. I tried to drown the pain in failed relationships, giving so much love to others, while neglecting the ground that was my humanity. When my flower died, I had forgotten that at my center I am a mammoth. That I had my own dreams and desires, that I needed to take time and take care of my own self.
So, I started aerating the soil of my existence. I started reading again. I started writing again. I got into therapy. I prepared the soil for planting my own seed, taken from the bud that died so long ago. The offspring of the seed given to me by my beloved grandmother. I took out all the rocks of anger and resentment and turned the soil. I asked myself the hard things, what was my part in what had happened? What was my responsibility in my reactions and the things that I had said to hurt others? I fertilized my soil with art and music and prose. I began writing again. I surrounded myself with people that wanted to see me succeed and that accepted the water that I gave them for their soul flowers. I cut all the people who sucked the energy and nourishment from me, and I was OK. I realized that I had to be happy and healthy myself before I could be happy with anyone else.
When it was time for me to plant my seed in the prepared soil, I sat back and thought about how I was never going to be that girl living as a fairy in the garden of mammoth sunflowers that her grandmother grew. I felt a twinge of sadness at the lost innocence, but I felt proud at the mammoth/ woman I was going to be. I was saddened at how others saw a fragile seedling and wanted to rip it out for themselves. Like an object to be owned rather than a being that had its own purpose. There are those out there that cannot grow their own flowers and want to steal the flowers from others, I am saddened that those people believe that souls are possessions and not essences to be cultivated. I know that those I weeded from my life’s garden was confused, but they could never understand the strength it took to take care of myself to pull out the weeds and surround myself with flowers that complement me rather than take my life-force. I started planting my own garden in my life with souls of people that were like me, that had the same purpose as me.
I planted that seed and have watered it every day. Every day I do something for my body, something for my mind, something for my heart, and something for my soul. I’ve realized that I am in control of what nourishes me. What I eat, watch, listen to, read, and even who I am around is to fertilize my own soul. I listened to my body on what it says that I need to be healthy. I listen to my mind and am always curious. I have started a master’s program at my school and am excelling. I listen to what my heart says and follow it. And I do things that nourish my soul, I help water other flowers around me. Seeing others grow and bloom brings me joy. If I can water someone else’s flower by sharing my story, then I know that I have a purpose. While it may seem that I have become the mammoth sunflower that is ripe and ready to share my seeds, I still have a long way to grow. I still have weeds to pull. I still need sunlight and nourishment. But I know that this is one day that I can start preparing to share my seeds with the world. Which is why I always end each post let’s grow together. Because I have a long way to go (and miles to go before I sleep– Robert Frost) and I want to help you grow too. So, lets grow together.