Strange title of a blog post, eh? But it’s one that I’ve been pondering on my ride to work.
Thinking of the tender tomato plants I grew inside my house.
Sheltered from the wind and the rain.
Given access to water, feed and sunlight.
Protected to grow tall, stretched towards the sky.
And yet who have all snapped as they have been moved into the garden.
Unprepared for the elements.
Too delicate for this world.
And I see the gnarled, thick-stemmed plants who have continued to grow, despite being abandoned outside as saplings who were in my ‘B’ team.
Unlikely to grow so left in the garden where they have adapted.
Grown thick to protect against the rain.
Become hairy-stemmed to protect against being nibbled from garden creatures.
Bent over to not be tossed around in the wind.
I think about myself
How it is through the conditions I’ve lived through – the storms I’ve weathered of anorexia, orthorexia, people-pleasing, finding myself in the patriarchal society, stepping out, stepping into conflict, abandoning old beliefs, learning to stop numbing – that has made me strong.
I am here, who I am, because of these storms.
I think of my son
And how my job is not to protect him, lock him away, enable him to not have to deal with the brutalities of this world.
It is to provide good soil for him.
To water his spirit when there’s not enough abundance around him.
To bring him up in an environment that allows his growth – the human equivalent of sun, clean air, protection from the wind.
Us role modelling the behaviours we want to instil in him – setting healthy boundaries, being self-accepting, following our passions.
I’m amazed by how these outdoor plants have thrived.
They’ve been knocked down, buffeted around, left out in the elements.
And likewise, I take a moment to recognise how I’ve thrived despite challenges in my life.
In part due to the conditions my parents provided for me to grow up in – secure in their love for me – and in part due to the trials-by-fire that I’ve gone through and emerged stronger.