Friday, May 3, 2013
Flowers, trades, and healing.
I love flowers. love, love, LOVE, love, LOOOOOVE them. I love plants, I love cactuses, I love them all. Can I grow them and keep them alive? Pssh! Absolutely NOT. However, this last year I was healed by flowers. Not just by who gave them to me, but the fact that they existed and were intended for me.
I have a trade going with the florist across the street. The owner, Michelle, a really lovely woman who always wears fashionable dresses and riding boots to work and often to my surprise, humored by my sarcasm. I give her a massage and I am able to pick up bouquets or she offers to put one together for me if I just ask. When we first agreed on the trade I intended to help out a beloved and deserving human being but I believe that I ended up with the greater gift.
All my life, I have been obsessed with romantic love. Since I was 10, I would constantly fantasize about being loved, and honestly, not in a healthy amount. I believe to this day, it was unhealthy, the way I craved it. Not only being loved, but being the kind of woman who deserved to be loved. Someone who always said the right things, someone who was desirable and easy on the eyes....someone who was truly feminine and wonderful...and bold...and magnetic. I was a swarthy child, with a sturdy build and was ridiculed for my weight when I was really young. Through my teen and college years I went unnoticed and uninteresting, and not necessarily feminine from my point of view. I never really fit in to anything I was a part of socially, either. Although, I was decent at a lot of tasks and hobbies, to this day, I've never been great at any one thing. That always drove me into frustration. I just wanted to be special. That was my life mission and I ventured to heal that part of me through acting and the theatre. Actors deserved praise for their beauty and talent and their abilities to transcend humanity to a deeper more honest place. Maybe that was where I could receive that kind of love of myself, I thought.
Through my years of belonging to the theatre, my father would always have a bouquet of roses waiting for me by closing night, whether I was in a union theatre or in a 20 seat black box theatre with half a roof and right in front of train tracks. I could never feel deserving enough of those flowers and would become sheepish and recluse in my behavior.
All through my years of dating the wrong men, and the right men who got away, and all those men in between...I NEVER received flowers. Not one time. Even when I had the same lover for 6 years who wanted, at one time, to marry me -never bestowed upon me the selfless and uplifting act of bringing me flowers.
So, in time, like any 'down to earth' girl, you start stating things like "I don't need gifts and flowers to know he loves me" or, my favorite "I don't like cut flowers, it hurts the plant". If you are a woman who has ever had a man who genuinely, deeply, loves you for who you are and treasures you, they MUST get you flowers. If you say any phrases like those that I mentioned you are just full of it.
My first flowers (outside of what my dad gave me for performances) were this year when, for just no reason I got myself a small bouquet of flowers from the florist. I put them in my office and fantasized about receiving them as a love gift from my boyfriend. Whether I was day dreaming or not, they made me feel loved. Love for myself. Later that day, I was bringing them home from work and I thought, "you know, mom could use some flowers". I walked in the front door very calmly and feeling grounded when my mother noticed my colorful bundle. I extended my arm to her and said nothing and I don't think I have EVER seen my mother's face light up and become almost youthful and refreshed in that manner. I don't think I could ever forget that moment...a moment when I realized that though my words of "I love you" and "I appreciate you" often go in one ear and out the other, it seems, it felt like for once, she truly believed it with this tiny selfless effort that I performed for her. She said "Aw, honey, you've never given me flowers before. What are they for?" I said "REALLY!? I never have?" Various times that evening I heard her boast to her friends, some aunts, my father, and my sister "look what Christi got me!" The reaction was almost that of realizing for the first time that her daughter, me, loved her deeply. I was deeply affected, almost saddened that it took this one act for her to realize it, but grateful to know that for once, she really KNEW.
My mother and I have had a tumultuous relationship since my late teenage years, and more so as we have aged into my late twenties. We can only reach certain level of vulnerability when we collide in our ability to communicate and relate. But the love is always there and very intense, but at the same time, we've learned to disassociate when the pain, anger, and resentment are too much to process. The best I can do is heal us from a more on the surface superficial layer, and pray that it penetrates our relationship down into thicker, heavier levels, which I believe it does. One day, my inner child was suffering greatly, to a point where I could not function for two days. My inner child kept saying over and over again "I want my mommy." The only way I knew to be vulnerable without digging through our 'crap' was to get her an amazing bouquet of flowers.... all in reds and oranges, and colors of passion and power...somehow hoping her soul would understand that I value her and I need her always, and in that very moment, much more than normal. When I came home with them, she was happy and touched, but not to the extend as she was the first time, which I expected. I was telling her how badly and painfully I needed her to hold me and love me and let me cry by giving her this gift. She did not grasp that that was the place I was coming from, which was for me to know and no one else at that time.
My last boyfriend was motivated and had his heart set on having a "real" Valentine's Day for the first time. At the time, I was still recovering from past emotional traumas of ex-lovers and was in no mood to get my hopes up for anything. I had spent years learning to not care or get caught up in anything romantic and adjusted to this mentality merely to protect myself from pain and judgement for the hurt of it all. The first part of our relationship I spent learning how to open up enough to get excited about silly sentimental things. -Things, that actually, are very very important to experience and do with a partner...and luckily enough, I dated someone who was VERY sentimental, probably more so than me. For a while I dug in my heels: "I don't really want to make plans, what if we get invited to a party or something? I don't want to miss out on that." But, I promised him we would set that time aside for US. On Valentine's day, I had this overwhelming sense of excitement and feeling 'twitterpaited' (or however they say it in Bambi). But, as the day closed in on the evening hours when we were to meet for dinner (for our favorite burger at the dive where we had our first date) I began to feel some hurt and anxiety. What if Matthew has to say to me "Sorry, babe, I just didn't have enough to get you flowers" and I would have to swallow my hurt over a) being let down and b) my inept selfishness for being let down and c) have to have him be hurt by the look on my face while trying to swallow both 'a' and 'b'? I bought myself a gorgeous bouquet of flowers to make me happy with the intent of pretending they were from my incredible boyfriend. They did, however, put me at ease, because they were a gift to myself and I deserved them. I knew I did. Even though I am not a cover model, or have a mane of beautiful hair, or have feminine child-bearing hips, and I say the wrong things, and I am loud and unnecessarily abnoxious...I still deserved them, even if they were from me.
Even though we were going to a dive, I dressed myself up really intently, including red lips and pearls. I waited for Matthew at the bar for an hour, surrounded by folks having beers with friends...but I didn't see any couples....or anyone alone for that matter. As I ordered a glass of wine for myself, I could not help but notice the somewhat drunk brunette next to me surrounded by three guys as she said "I don't like it when guys get me flowers, it hurts the plant. I'd rather get a plant". All of a sudden I sensed someone standing to my right, looked, saw no one, and as I turned my gaze to my left, there was a large bouquet of perfect white roses staring me in the face. "I'm sorry it took me so long, but I had to walk to three florists across town to find these" Matthew said, looking all dapper and polished.
All I could do was marvel at how CLEAN these flowers were. Not in their petals, but in their intensity. I felt as though they were saying "because of the beautiful and simple soul that you are, we belong to you, in your honor." I said to Matthew, "Honey, they're amazing. I wasn't expecting these and I'm just overwhelmed". He says "I promised you I'd get them for you, what makes you think I'd break my promise?" Right in front of me was an example of a man who would make sacrifices to get me something to special. I can't remember what I said next, but he said "but, they aren't just flowers. They meant so much more to you than just the shear fact of them. You needed them to heal and I want to be the one to heal you and love you."
I am still unable to truly describe how, simply, I had certain parts of my soul healed when I received them. I cradled them in my arms, like the mass of them were a precious infant that I never had. I put them in my white and lavender bathroom in a crystal vase and could not help but feel the lingering crash of love and romance sweep over me until they began to wilt.
Although my experiences with floral healing is very detailed in the stories, there is no true way to describe the intensity of the minute details that cannot go described with words. If you have a florist, pay them a visit: thank them for what they bring to our economy and society. If you have a loved one, bring them some kind of flower.... for any and no reason at all. Its a small way to help heal others on the metaphysical plane in a society that needs so much healing. Florists provide beautiful choices and combinations of ways to create a bridge for an apology. Flowers can show love in the most innocent way without judgement or agenda, and add a cushion for healing and condolences. They add vibrancy to the love and celebration of a single person or persons. What an honorable and wonderful profession? To create a hub for celebrating and healing humanity that much more?