Tonight, my boyfriend and I were walking back into our house when he noticed that the flowers we have on our front porch had come to life and flowered again. “They die and then they come back. They die and then they come back. They’re like vampire flowers.” He said. I thought about this as we walked inside. All summer I had stressed about keeping them alive, fresh and full of bloom. Two weeks in a row I would water them every day and they would look beautiful. And then I would forget to take care of them and they would wither and look almost dead. It had been a constant battle all summer; keeping these damn flowers alive. So sitting outside tonight, I looked at the flowers and tried hard to figure out why it was so important to me that they stayed alive and continued to bloom. After all, they’re just flowers and if they die I could just throw them away and get new ones. But I think it’s the meaning behind the flowers. I remember the day I went and picked them out and the image I had in my head of how they would look on our front porch, hanging from the ceiling, a beautiful Caribbean scene on our front porch as ourselves and our friends came into our house. I also remembered last summer how my aunt had bought flowers for the front porch to make the place look pretty after my mother had passed away. I completely disregarded the flowers and they didn’t grow and in fact, died miserably, they’re withered stems and leaves falling all over themselves and the front porch. So it was the mission in keeping something alive. So I continued to water them when I remembered and then they would bloom and look beautiful again. It literally would happen over night.
Last week, I met with a client for our ninth session. When she first came in to see me, she stated that she could only afford ten sessions and asked if I believed we could achieve what she needed to achieve in ten weeks. I told her we could, although I warned her it was difficult to realize what would come out of therapy along the way. During our ten sessions together, I gave her constant assignments. I have probably given her over twenty movies to watch and at least fifteen books. I have given her lists to make, trips to plan and all kinds of creative assignments. With the exception of just a few, she has completed every single assignment, not always understand the meaning behind the work, but completing it nonetheless. She put her all into her sessions, watering herself, so to speak, to make herself bloom. On our eighth session she informed me that she wasn’t prepared for me to be out of her life yet, but on her ninth session, she stated she felt that she had solved what she had come into therapy to achieve and felt successful. She had realized a new self concept for herself, repaired, to some extent, her relationship with her mother and was continuing to grow every day. She asked if I would continue to meet with her quarterly to check in with her throughout the next year. At first I was apprehensive, but in all honesty, she had completed her goals and she was being successful. It was also exciting for me, although I would miss working with her regularly, to have helped a client realize their own success. And if she needs to come in for a little watering, well, she knows my phone number.
So, I think in a way, we’re all like those damn vampire flowers. We go through periods of our life receiving a lot of watering and nourishment, feeling and looking beautiful, inside and out. At other times, we don’t receive what we need, and we wither and feel dead inside. Maybe if we all worked harder to water ourselves a little bit every day, we might continue to grow stronger, blooming as we go. Imagine what would happen, if like my client, we watered ourselves regularly, fulfilling our needs constantly. Challenging ourselves to grow on a daily basis.
I think it’s much easier to just forget about the watering, but then I have a horrible mess of dead leaves and dirt to clean up on my front porch. And when friends walk up to my house, I want them to feel warm and welcomed. So from here on out, I guess I’m dedicated to watering my plants and making them look beautiful. Because after all…we’re on borrowed time as it is!