I used to think flowers were bullshit. And by “used to” I mean 15 years of my life were shrouded in flower cynicism.
During my early dating years, I instructed boyfriends to adhere to my flower rules. Don’t apologize with them and don’t express love with them. Got it?
Perhaps these flower rules seem harsh, but I had my reasons. If petals faded, wilted, then fell to the ground within 3-5 days…how was that tragic performance a symbol of eternal love? How did the cheapest bouquet from the chain grocery store serve as a relationship peace treaty?
One day I was forced to abandon my flower cynicism. Mr. H gave me an irresistible bunch of flowers for our 11-year anniversary.
He kissed me and said: “Don’t be a dick. Happy anniversary.” (Side note…we call each other dicks all the time in this house. It’s our time-out phrase.)
Mr. H and his floral-scented purple, yellow, and green accomplices tugged at my heart strings a little. Okay, a lot.
I started to see flowers differently. They didn’t die, they were reborn. They gave everything to the world, then returned to the earth. They carried the beauty and wisdom that comes with living vibrantly and generously into a new life.
The final departure of my flower cynicism happened when I moved to Rose City five years ago. Roses thrive here, unapologetic about their brazen beauty and their pungent perfume. Recently Mr. H and I moved into a house rental and I was gifted the most glorious bouquet of all…a yellow rose bush in my front yard.
Yellow roses are my secret favorite flower. When I see their unique life force, my heart can’t help but get over itself and open up.
Mr. H put a yellow rose into an old wine bottle and I watched it begin its steady, inevitable decline. I wasn’t sad. I knew that rose had lived its fullest life by giving all of its beauty and wisdom to the world.
A ten-year-old ballet student tip-toes onto the stage at the end of a 2-hour performance. The applause is deafening as she offers the bouquet of roses to her idol, her teacher and the prima ballerina.
The ballet student thrusts the bouquet into the ballerina’s sweaty, sparkly hands. Her tiara is blinding beneath the spotlight. The ballerina hugs her young student closely, crushing her tutu between them, disregarding her rumpled costume and the inky mascara streaming down her face.
I’ve learned that flowers are the witnesses of life’s most touching moments. Looking back, I’ve always known this. But I was afraid of losing these moments. I knew they would disappear—fade, wilt, and fall back into the earth.
Now I put in the work to appreciate life’s most touching moments as they happen. And I cherish them later, as memories rise up like the sun and wash over the petals of my mind. Perhaps I was a flower in another life and I’m just beginning to open up.
For those of you who have been following my blog this year, as you may have concluded, my Real Life Fiction series has run its course. This creative experiment was a way for me to share experiences in a fiction writing format.
I felt like the third-person account created an unnecessary barrier, and I’m back to telling life stories the way I used to. As myself, for better or worse.
Lastly, I want to encourage you to check out one of my all-time favorite author interviews. Victoria Dougherty is a fellow author extraordinaire and a solid friend. She and I had an amazing no-BS conversation about love and fiction, something we share in common with our work.
You can find the interview, Talking Love and Fiction With a Life Enthusiast, over at Victoria’s exceptionally lovely blog.
We know that marriage is a partnership and we worked our asses off to hold onto our love. We know that we wouldn’t still be here in this life if we hadn’t found, loved, and saved each other. Our love drives my fiction forward—and some version of me and Mr. H. are always the main characters.