“And the day came when the risk to remain in a tight bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
I have always liked this quote, but it’s never resonated with me quite as much as it does now. Change is not my favorite thing. It never has been and it probably never will be. But sometimes change is good and sometimes change is everything. I’m learning that lesson, like I learn everything else, slowly. So, metaphorically, I think of before treatment as being in a tight bud. Closed off, taking up the least amount of space possible, walling myself off from the rest of the world. It was familiar and routine and I thought it felt safe. But in reality, sadness, fear, loneliness, rigid rules, and self-hate were what I was feeling, and it got to a point where my feelings no longer felt safe. It came to a point where I had a choice to make. I could stay in ‘comfort zone’, which wasn’t very comfortable and continue to live my life out of fear and sadness. Or I could take a risk and choose to do something different with my life. I could choose to bloom. My comfortable tight bud all of the sudden started feeling claustrophobic. I felt trapped in myself. So I made the decision to take a leap of faith, and what a leap it was. During treatment, I was in a greenhouse with perfect conditions to loosen my bud and bloom. There were definitely growing pains, and sometimes I had to have my petals pried open. And as I began to open up, I felt things I hadn’t felt in a long time. I felt hope. I felt unconditional love. I felt joy and laughter and friendship. I felt what it was like to be taken care of. I also felt vulnerable and scared and shame and fear. But most importantly, I felt. I allowed myself to have feelings and I felt alive. If I had remained in my tight bud, I never would have felt these things. I may never have felt such deep shame and vulnerability and fear, but I would have never felt such immense love and hope. So I guess the reason I chose to change was to feel again. In my tight bud I felt stuck in things like sadness, rules, loneliness, and self-hate. And because I was afraid to bloom, I was unable to experience the full range of emotion. The good and the bad. The fear and the hope. The sadness and the joy. The loneliness and the laughter. My “blooming” process has not been easy and I would not say that I am fully bloomed (although, are any of us ever?), but I am in the process. I am feeling. And like a flower with its petals spread open to the wind, rain, sun, and storms, I am open and vulnerable and willing and scared and excited. Because I made a choice and I chose to change.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” –John 10:10