A couple months ago my husband and I were watching an episode of “A million little things.” Which, by the way, is a great show—you should watch it. So, in this episode one of the characters, who happens to be a therapist, tells another character that ‘in every relationship there is a gardener and a flower.’
I about peed my pants. She stole my insight! I had been thinking along those same lines for weeks.
I was the gardener. My whole dang family was the energy sucking flower.
I just wanted to write! And I never had any time because of my family and all the watering and pruning and fertilizing I had to do for their big beautiful blooms.
If you’ve read any of my past posts you will know that while this particular “Gardner” insight was new . . . these feelings were not. The guilt and frustration over writing and motherhood has pretty much been a lifelong reoccurring theme for me.
But then something happened, or rather a series of somethings happened because I don’t think I can pinpoint one specific turning point but I finally came to the realization that I wasn’t a Gardner because I had to be a Gardner, I was a Gardner because I choose to be one. Wow. That was some deep sinking sand of thought.
The real kicker was when I realized that my motivation for being a Gardner instead of a Flower wasn’t even actually based on guilt or duty . . . it was fear.
Yeah. It wasn't my families fault. It wasn't my cultures fault. It was my fault.
The real reason I haven’t been blooming is because I’ve been scared and also just plain lazy.
There is a very powerful lie in my head that tells me, quite subliminally, that if I never try I cannot fail. The dream of being a successful writer is so much more satisfying than actually doing the work and taking the scary steps to actually be a writer. There is no pain or sacrifice or embarrassment in dreaming. There is no work in dreaming.
And wasn’t that convenient that I had a whole family of other people to blame for my lack of trying. It wasn’t my fault I wasn’t writing! Where was the time?
The saddest part of this story is that I’ve been harboring a very unhealthy dose of anger over all this, and the anger hasn’t even been justified.
They say the first step to change is awareness and while this awareness hasn’t exactly magically made my fear go away it has made me take action.
I’m pretty sure people don’t actually overcome their fears, they just decide that life on the other side of their fear is better than life behind it.
My feelings of self-doubt and fear are still here, but I'll tell you what isn't here anymore . . . my excuses!
So. Life on the other side side. What does it look like for me?
Well, there's a lot less anger and a lot more writing. I have to reach my writing goals every week or else face the consequences. So far the only consequence I’ve had to endure is a 5 day social media break but if I miss writing for 3 days I have to eat a worm! Turns out the avoidance of insect consumption can be a pretty awesome motivator.
I also (shockingly) love my family a lot more. And it turns out, with a bit of self-discipline and a few sacrifices, there actually is plenty of time in the day for the gardening of all the beautiful flowers in my life—even my own.