My boyfriend teases me that when he gives me flowers, he will just wait until they are already dead. He says that since I seem to photograph several of his bouquets, even when they are past their blooms and drying.
I cannot decide if my interest in decaying flowers is more a focus on finding beauty in things that some may overlook or more from my philosophy on life: you will discover what you seek.
I say that with a grain of reality of course. I know people don’t seek to be abused, disabled or oppressed. With those extremes aside, I think people are capable of creating, discovering or changing their lives.
All of us are given a place in the world. Whether those places or circumstances are equal or fair can be debated. However, debating that is really pointless. For none of us can change the past. We don’t get to decide our parents, our race, our sex or anything at birth or in our childhood for that matter.
Once we are old enough to think for ourselves though, we can make changes (on most things anyway). We can decide how to act, what to do, when to change. We alone have the power over our emotions and voices. We can choose who we want to be. Sure, it may not be easy. If we decide to be an athlete, we need to train and eat right. If we decide to become a lawyer, we need to study and study more. If we decide to become a spiritual leader, we need to align our actions with our words. Heck, we can even change our sex these days with surgery, therapy and hormones.
None of that is easy though. Life is hard. Success is even harder. To be successful, we must work not only hard, but smart and efficiently. We need to gather the tools required for success in whatever field we have chosen. We can’t just expect the world to give us what we want, especially when we don’t deserve it or work for it. Yet, I see this all the time. People want fame, money and love yet they don’t want to put the effort required to have those things.
This entitled expectation reminds me of a Tom Krause quote.
“Flowers don’t bloom where no seeds have been planted.
If you want kindness, be kind.
If you want acceptance, be accepting.
If you want encouragement, be encouraging.
If you want forgiveness, be forgiving.
If you want love, be loving.
If you want respect, be respectful.
We should not expect from others what we fail to give to them.”
Krause’s quote is profound to me. It makes sense. Essentially, it is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have done onto you. And regardless of your religion, there seems to be a golden rule in them all.
So if you can create a better world for yourself through dreams, goal setting and hard work, I figured you can create a worse world just as well. I’ve witnessed people worry, fight, and fret over every detail in their life. They have a negative outlook. They are always the victim. They are always defeated. The world is against them…or so it seems. As I have aged, I have wondered, what makes one person overcome a horrible situation while it defeats another? Or why does one person with all the elements of success at their fingertips still fail?
I am sure there are several factors as no two situations or people are alike. However, I feel like one factor is themselves. They chose to be defeated or motivated by their setbacks. They wallow in pity or pull themselves up. They retreat into a safe circle or they venture out into risk. Essentially, I think their actions, attitudes and behaviors can play a huge role in what happens to them in life. My own included.
For example, I dated a guy for a while who later told me he was walking on eggshells because he was afraid I would break up with him. He feared that he would do something wrong, and I would leave. He didn’t express this fear outright, but the relationship felt strained and difficult. His tension made me tense. His insecurity made me feel guilty…of nothing and everything. I couldn’t put my finger on the problem, but just felt like there was something missing. I wasn’t myself. I wasn’t happy. So we ended it. In hindsight, I feel like his fears put certain actions into place that created a tension that lead exactly to what he feared – our relationship ending.
Another example is a friend of mine who has always had bad luck with men. I sympathized with her for I too had this same luck. We both seemed to always pick the bad guys. Yet, we were the one constant element in all the relationships. So naturally, we must be the problem then, right? Through my own growth and experience, I tried to help her. Maybe we were not necessarily the problem, but we were creating it in some ways. By thinking we were jaded, insignificant or broken, we were unintentionally attracting, or accepting, less than worthy men. And those men we chose, used our insecurities to their advantage. They would control all the situations and conversations. We let them have all the power. And on a rare occasion where we vied for the power or challenged theirs, problems occurred…or in some cases, violence would the result. Again, I am not saying my friend was at fault for her abuse. No, that fault lies with the abuser and the abuser alone. But, I think she plays a role into the situations she finds herself in. She would always say, I can never make a relationship work, I am meant to be alone, I always pick the wrong guys. I wondered, is this like a self-fulfilling prophecy? I also wondered this about my own experiences…
With age and experience, came wisdom, painful yet good wisdom. I had to pull myself up from defeat. I had to look for the lessons in the bad. I had to lay out my dreams into goals and those goals into steps. I had to decide, do I want to feel sorry for myself or do I want change? I chose change and it has been empowering. I chose to find me again. It was not easy and is still not easy, but I see more beauty in the world than ever before. The world has not dramatically changed though. It was me who changed. But now, I don’t see ugly dead flowers. Now, I see transformation and beauty. I just needed to change my perspective and look for it.
Photo note: The photo was taken with my Canon Camera actually. However, I did edit the photo on my iPhone in the LiveCollage app. It is the same picture edited in two different collage formats. I was trying to do a montage but could not figure out how to do that in the app.