Are any of you gardeners, or like me, aspire to be one? Maybe you look at these beautiful green and colorful living and breathing things and are in awe. They have a way of talking to you, raising your mood and energy, and sometimes telling you how to get your shit together.
I’m kind of like my fiddle leaf fig. She is physically scarred by my lack of care in providing proper nourishment with burnt, brown edges. There is a dramatic and abrupt edge on her main stem where I had to cut off a growing bud to save it while the rest of the plant was suffering from root rot from a lack of heat and sunshine over the winter. Even with these unattractive flaws, she has this new offshoot that is leaning to the right, reaching towards the sun through the window, and a perfect brilliant green, a sign of good health. This healthy branch is still a part of the whole plant and represents a change in circumstances when I showed her a little more love.
I feel she is being a mirror. I look at her and think, yup, I have endured some “stuff” that was so damaging that parts of me withered, yet there is a whole new part of me that is thriving and growing as I have chosen to reclaim my life and live in my purpose. Let me provide more about the “stuff” I am referring to, especially in relation to “nourishment”. The “stuff” has been toxic work environments that continued to promote, affirm, and value White people over brilliant, bad-ass, Black and Brown people with all the solutions and skills needed to transform the organization and meet its goals. What nourishes me now, is no longer facing the daily exhaustion of my worth and value being undermined and being surrounded with love by people who believe in me and give me strength. The “stuff” has been White people telling me that I’m too much or not a good fit because I speak up about racial inequities and for interjecting my voice as a woman of color. These comments caused me to question myself and alter myself to stay more within the lines of the box that made them comfortable. This was confinement and a process of lessening my shine. Through intentionally nourishing myself in love, where I choose to love myself exactly the way that I am, I put those ridiculous notions away and embrace my voice as powerful and a gift. The “stuff” has been witnessing my fellow brothers and sisters of color in pain and instead of giving rest, love, and peace, the world demands more of them and is so willing to keep taking from them. What nourishes me is being with my brothers and sisters of color in collaboration towards our healing and breathing in solidarity while we keep fighting.
My awkward-looking fiddle leaf fig is a representation of thriving through conditions that aren’t ideal, even harmful, but being saved and restored with nourishment. We deserve to be nourished. I deserve to be nourished. Like her, I turn towards the sun to remain focused on what gives me life.