This morning I woke up early and in a great mood, which says a lot since I was cranky last night. I had soccer practice with my younger team and they frustrated me to the point where I had to remind them that being at practice is a privilege. One that players who choose to kick other players’ balls across the field(s) will not be enjoying. But I was mostly over it by the time I went to sleep.
I have a few things to work on this morning and some other small things to get done today. I have already started laundry and I am just feeling Tuesday! What can I say? Today is going to be a great day. I was getting ready to sit down and get some research done on one of my projects when I looked out on the deck and saw this:
What is extraordinary about these flowers is that they were the last of our bunch to really bloom and look pretty. I watered them every day, along with the other flowers, herbs, and the garden. I talked to them and told them they needed to up their game, that everyone else around them was beautiful and they were just kind of there. Eventually they did brighten up and look better.
What is even more extraordinary is that we were gone at the beginning of August to pick up the kids and have a mini vacation. Those were hot, dry days and when we returned, most of the flowers were in sad shape. We couldn’t get back into a good routine like before that trip and so the watering outside turned into just whenever the rain came. We lost all the flowers and just sort of gave up. So no one has been watering these flowers except nature. I stopped even looking at the flowers because they make me sad. They could still be alive if we had just gotten back to it.
But this pot of flowers…it DID NOT GIVE UP. It fought through everything and just accepted as much water as nature provided and not only bloomed beautifully, but bloomed longer than every other pot of flowers we have. In the picture alone, you can see how beautiful the coloring is and how they just look happy. But looking at them from another point of view shows the contrast between this pot and the other pots around it.
There’s two pots of dead flowers behind it, with the higher one having a couple of flowers left. That pot was beautiful the day we bought it but it has slowly been turning brown since the first day. But it hasn’t give up all the way yet either. But this flower, the one that bloomed so much later than everyone else, is lasting so much longer with no special watering. It’s like it spent all that extra time growing deep roots instead of looking pretty right away.
This beautiful, enduring pot of flowers reminds me of how people use terms like late bloomer to describe those that supposedly take longer to develop completely. I have been called a late bloomer multiple times in my life. The people who called me that meant it as a compliment, but it sounds like an insult to me. Like everyone has been at point Z, but you took forever to finally catch up. It feels hurtful to think you are behind everyone but also that people notice you are behind.
In high school, I was really quiet. I was smart but really shy and timid. I was scared to take up space. I had been getting the messaging for 10 years that I needed to make myself small and so I did. In college, I couldn’t understand why my smarts weren’t enough to get my through it. I was challenged by undiagnosed ADHD and no one to structure my life for me like my parents had done my entire childhood. I couldn’t stand the sound of my own voice and I didn’t participate even when I knew my grade depended on it. I couldn’t process the discussion fast enough to have meaningful points and I was behind. By my senior year I did much better. I felt more confident in my voice and I was inspired to speak out more. I could manage all the reading better and could form discussion points from the reading instead of waiting to hear what would come up. I still couldn’t process discussion fast enough to participate much, but jumping in early with my prepared points was enough to help my grade.
After college, I lost my footing and fell behind again. I did ok when I was enlisted in the Air Force. It was easy for me to shine and my smarts were enough. Intelligent discussion didn’t really happen most of the time. As an officer, my smarts weren’t enough. I couldn’t kiss ass to get ahead because it felt like I was compromising my integrity. I am a complete person and don’t need to kiss ass to get ahead. But that’s something that apparently works. It just wasn’t going to ever work for me.
But as I have gotten older and had children (and flowers), I have learned that there is no such thing as a late bloomer. We are all on our own timeline that is unique to us. We are not in a race and there is no finish. We aren’t even on the same journey. Everyone is in their own space, learning what works for them and how they want to handle what life throws at them. Calling someone a late bloomer because they seem to be at a different pace than everyone else is harsh and judgmental. No one gets the right to comment on anyone else’s journey because they cannot know where that person came from and what they are dealing with. Just assume that everyone is like an iceberg and what you know is just the tip. You might think they haven’t come as far as everyone around them, but you don’t what they overcame to get to the point where they’re at.