I was clipping my rose bushes this morning (not a euphemism) when I noticed my thornless bush had grown thorns. As I pulled the thorn out of my finger, I began to wonder, what prompted this rose bush – this beautiful, happy bush – to grow thorns.
Before anyone gives me a scientific reason why thorns grow on bushes or why maybe this bush was never truly thornless – I spent more time pondering the broader question – why would something grow thorns where there were never supposed to be thorns?
Looking at my own life over the past year, and my personal and internal struggle has been all around not grown thorns – not becoming jaded – not feeling like life was making it easier to hate than to love. This internal struggle was something many in my life didn’t understand as I kept it to myself. I mean, how crazy would I have sounded if I had yelled – I’m trying hard not to hate you because hating one person is like a gateway drug to hating others.
So I struggled in silence. I cried and felt weak. I talked about my feelings and felt vulnerable. My inclination was to grow thorns – to protect myself by having a natural defense mechanism that would get anyone before they got too close to me. I felt like I needed thorns as I hated weak and vulnerable.
But like me with the rose bush this morning, people closest to me did not let the thorns stop them. They kept reaching for the flower that was me – the smiles, the laughs – the normal me – the one who wasn’t struggling.
Overall, I felt grateful for those people – but simultaneously wondered why the hell weren’t the running away to save themselves. They would get pricked – and not all would take it as a warning, but saw it as interesting but not a deterrent.
And for that, I love them.
As a strong woman – an independent woman – a self assured woman – a woman who brings home the bacon – I often feel weakness is my enemy. I have been taught – through society and other means – that crying is weak. That showing emotions, in general, is weak. That being vulnerable is weak. That there is this fine line between emoting my feelings and being weak. And to be a strong woman means – according to what I have been taught – not having emotions, not crying, not being unsure, not showing weakness of any sort which means – not being vulnerable.
What I have learned through my struggle over this past year is something amazing…..
……..vulnerable and emotions are strengths.
When I am upset about something, I embrace it instead of struggle with it. I ride that wave and find out where it came from, I accept it, I do not apologize for it, and I let that wave break apart and go back to still waters as waves do. And by doing that, I don’t hold onto it. I do, however, hold onto the feeling after – the feeling of peace that I just let it be. I hold onto the knowledge that next time, the same thing will happen – I won’t get caught up in the wave as I fight it and struggle to stay atop of it. I hold onto knowing I can ride it – and in the end, will feel good about the ride even if the source of the ride was not so good.
I still try to fight some waves especially when something triggers a feeling I hadn’t thought about in a while – a feeling I haven’t wanted to think about in a while – a feeling where I felt bad about myself or unsure. But, I remember that the wave from the past will not effect me now. I will not let it be a thorn that someone else has to pay for in the future. I let it go. And focus on the bud.
It is easy to grow thorns, I think, but growing thorns means you, as a plant, are putting your energies towards the negative, towards defensiveness, instead of where it should go: to the roots making you stronger by nourishing you, towards the buds that make you beautiful, towards the leaves that will stretch to the sun.
Shit happens – don’t let that crap pull your energies from the light and let them refocus on the sharp.