Content Warnings: Depression, anxiety, panic attacks, abandonment, suicidal thoughts, loss of a loved one, mention of blood, self-harm
I have started planting the bouquets that I hold along this gravel path, trying to find a way around the thorns under my feet. So, I will begin with where these bundles of sorrow came from; I must start with their beginnings. Those beginnings that stained my arms crimson red.
You see, my roots grew throughout my childhood from a seed that may have not been well cared for, but one that persevered. And so the love for my father, my grandfathers, my family, and my friends was buried deep—far from any sniping knives.
And oh, how beautiful my daisies and my carnations grew; some might’ve mistaken them for evergreen.
However, my picket fence wore through the winter. My thirteenth winter, the first time chrysanthemums blew my way, my grandfather passed away. The person who was like a father to me, who handed me secret candies hidden in pockets, who, unlike my mother, made me feel enough and made me feel that being alive was enough.
It was quite unfair, don’t you think? The person who held my chin up to look at the blue, blue sky, was gone. My descent into self-depreciation, anxiety, and low self-esteem had already been afoot by the time he passed. I hit rock bottom when my pet died soon after, when so many more packed up and left. That was the first time I had a panic attack, the first of many. Staring at dead, dead, dead eyes.
Suddenly my gardens were gone, and my body was left numb from the winter chill. Anything and everything was tiring, nothing I did was enough, not for my friends who left me behind to live in their gardens with butterflies, not for my teachers who complained about me because I was not me anymore, not for my mother or anyone.
Life didn’t seem to be worth living when hours upon hours I spent dreaming of the dead. I was lost without a map or a trail to follow back home, where I could have everyone back, and I could finally ask them the million-dollar question: why? Why was I not worthy of you staying? Why was I not worthy of change?
I’m still not home to my gardens, where I worry my flowers have gone too long un-watered, where they might not love my touch anymore. However, I’m holding this daffodil, my hope, in a near-death grip, slowly following my way toward the sun, praying that my bloody feet can find a home.
Somewhere I can let go of this grief and this pain that I’ve drowned myself in.
Somewhere, or at some point in time, we can all just…be. Where happiness isn’t bought at the price of bouquets.