yellow hibiscus

Dying of Thirst?

I am, as it turns out, a yellow hibiscus.

Allow me to explain:

I thrive on both touch and words in the language of love. I say “I love you.” A LOT. I like to hear it, too. And I blossom under a steady diet of light, sweet, hey-you touch: a squeeze of my hand, a quick hug, a kiss dropped on the top of my head while passing by–heck, even a swat on the ass with a dish towel.

The thing is, I spent far too much of my life feeling deeply ashamed about that.

My ex is, truly, one of the kindest, loveliest, funniest and best-looking guys I know. He remains special and dear to me, and we have a great co-parenting relationship. We shared tons of common interests, we loved to talk to each other, and we laughed our asses off together.

But what feel like affirmations of love to me ring phony and needy to him.

Those frequent small touches I crave are distracting and, eventually a little suffocating, to an introvert like my ex who is often happiest alone. I felt so guilty for wanting more, like some irrational child demanding another juice box when I’d already had three.

It took time and perspective to see that neither my ex nor I were right or wrong. I was simply a thirsty plant by nature, like a yellow hibiscus, and I’d planted myself in a xeriscaped garden. I was getting just enough of what I needed to stay alive, but not quite enough to bloom. And it wasn’t until I found the means to find my own nourishment and to find others who knew how to wield a watering can with grace that I realized exactly how dessicated and thirsty I had allowed myself to become.

Are you like a cactus, self-sufficient, tall and proud in the sunshine of the dry desert air? Are you a pot-bound plant whose roots are stunted by the size of the container in which you’ve allowed yourself to be placed? Are you putting down roots and thriving in moist, fertile soil? Are you like a grove of aspen, all of their roots intertwined beneath the surface, so that although they look like individual trees, they are actually all one single plant?

Some plants like and need the rain. Some plants drown if over-watered. Some plants grow, miraculously, in air. Some adapt easily to almost any environment.

The trick to thriving—not just surviving—is in knowing your preferences and your needs, and getting them met, ideally by YOU. What makes you ripen and blossom? What brings out your rich and unique beauty? What do you need to be the fullest expression of yourself, and how and where will you find it?

I have a few ideas. Ask me. I have a black thumb and can kill a houseplant in less than a month. But I know exactly what kind of care I need to grow. No apologies for being thirsty. No guilt for wanting what I want. No shame in having that look ever so slightly different than what any other human (or plant) on the planet requires to thrive.

I am a yellow hibiscus. And finally, now that I’m blossoming, I can see my true beauty anew.

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