Recently I have discovered that I am a delicate flower, an orchid to be precise. I want to be, and try to act like, a dandelion but I’m not. I’m an orchid.
Dandelions can grow anywhere. They are bright and cheerful. They help make wishes come true. Their leaves can be eaten and their roots are used in herbal medicine. Dandelions are wonderful and versatile plants.
I have friends who are dandelions, who I admire and strive to be like. They post things like: Today was rough I’ve caught the flu, vomiting, coughing, and a fever of 103. I took some medicine which made my head feel all foggy but I managed to write 2500 words, cook pot roast for dinner, wash, dry, and fold three loads of laundry, and cleaned the kitchen. Going to bed early and hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow so I can catch up on my to-do list!
I admire these dandelion people, I want to be like them, but I’m not. When I get sick my brain shuts down. I can’t think, let alone write. My body needs sleep, lots and lots of sleep to get better. Because I’m a professional foster parent, my time off is when the kids are in school, which means I sleep all day, take a quick shower before school lets out, then all my energy and focus is on the kids, making sure I don’t forget homework, meds, or appointments.
Even if I take medicine, I can’t muster the energy, focus and determination of a dandelion.
In order to grow and bloom, an orchid must have everything just so — the right amount of light, water, the soil in perfect orchid balance. They will not bloom if these conditions aren’t met.
If I eat the wrong thing, don’t drink enough water, stay up too late, don’t get enough exercise, or have too much emotional/stressful things happening I don’t work right. My brain and body shut down. I can’t think well enough to write. Sleeping becomes my number one goal and it takes careful, intentional, and determined choices to bring myself back into balance.
There are times I get depressed and seriously pissed off that I can’t be a dandelion. That I’m so delicate and fragile. It makes me feels less than. And yes, I’m not ‘supposed’ to compare myself to others. But when we all have colds and I’m the only one sleeping sixteen hours a day, it’s hard not to.
I want to be able to grab food from wherever and be fine. I want to be functional on four hours of sleep after having a major writing session that lasted long into the night. I want to be able to feel safe driving when I’m sick or tired. I wish I didn’t start sliding into depression if I miss a few days of exercise.
I wish I was a dandelion.
But I’m not.
I’m an orchid, and if I ever want to bloom I’m going to have to be consistent with my self-care. I’m going to have to make sure that everything is ‘just so’ every day. I also have to stop seeing this as a failure, stop seeing me as a failure, and start honoring who I really am, an orchid.