Cacti, house plants and immortality projects

May 19, 2019

Dear diary,

Mom has always been a cactus. Resilient, self-sufficient, and thorny. Being cacti worked well for many different reasons. But then mom became tired of being a cactus. Because she was alone. Mom was used to being alone. But in reality was mom is afraid of rejection and ultimately, abandonment.

Being the brave soldier that she is, mom decided to become a different kind of plant. A house plant.

A house plant is domesticated. A house plant is a creature that has been removed from the wilderness and brought into a climate controlled environment where they will mostly thrive. They live with other creatures and follow rules of engagement: politeness, kindness, and mindfulness.

Mom struggles the idea of domestication. And whenever she encounters a tool of domestication, let’s call them crates, pens, stalls or boxes, she walks out. And she learns. Mom’s raison d’etre is understanding. She just wants to know. It’s like when you belly hurts. You just want to know why it hurts. The knowing doesn’t make the hurt go away, but it helps with the coping. Because then, you might be able to see the arch of the pain. And see the patterns, and the context of the pain.

All the crates, pens, stalls, boxes that we create to keep creatures from running away—to keep them as objects of ownership—mom hates. Because these contracts are human constructs: race, gender, class. It keeps people in their place.

Capitalism and consumerism keeps us so preoccupied with wanting more and more and more—constantly comparing what I have to what more can I have, or what “they” have and how I want what “they” have, that we forget that we are being domesticated. This wanting is not limited to objects. They can also be concepts like power, intellect, and status. More, more, more.

We are being distracted into our demise.

There is a paper thin distinction between distractions that lead to our demise and distractions that help us cope with our anxiety. The key difference is mindfulness. Can you name and claim the distraction mindfully as a tool to keep you balanced, optimistic, while keeping anxiety at bay? Then go for it. Mindfulness.

Mom used to be a cactus. And now mom is a house plant. Except that she is going through another transition and she is pissed at being a house plant. It’s no one’s fault. Mom asked to go through the transition. The transition being: I will look at my value system and see if I am making mindful decisions about the rest of my life. Yeah. Nothing easy going on here.

Mom, the house plant, it’s being repotted. And she is pissed. And confused. And feeling raw. And vulnerable. As a coping strategy, mom is nurturing cacti again. Thinking that she has to go back to being a cactus. When mom feels vulnerable, her warrior comes out and fights anything and everything that moves. That includes dad. Poor dad. He is patiently waiting for the storm to pass.

Today, mom decided thorns are too much. And so now she is a succulent. Still resilient and self-sufficient, but not thorny. Mom loves the succulents that have many babies. Mother of thousands, mother of millions. And mom is also embracing the coleus plant. These are vibrant, colorful plants that propagate easily. They remind her of the jumpsuits she makes. Mom is calling these plants her mini immorality projects. Something about living beyond death. Is mom becoming a vampire? I should ask her. I don’t want her to become a vampire.

Love, Bob

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