I Feel Like My Houseplant

The other morning I was standing at the bathroom sink when I noticed my still-not-bloomed Kalanchoe on the window sill. When is this plant ever going to do its thing, I wondered.

Then it occurred to me: this plant is the perfect metaphor for me.

My husband doesn’t like me to refer to myself as a “late bloomer.” He says it implies that I’m too old to become whatever it is I want to be. He makes a good point. I’m very happy where I am, and I wouldn’t be in this life situation if everything hadn’t played out exactly as it did. Cringe-worthy “mistakes” and all.

Still, I have a hard time shrugging off the feeling that I’m meant to be doing something more to help make the world a better place, something that allows me to be creative.

For most of my life, I thought this mysterious something would be to write a book. That’s a long story that I won’t get into right now. Suffice it to say that somewhere along the way, my writer’s journey turned into an awakening process that most definitely caught me off-guard.

The book I was working on (and still am) is a memoir. Trying to make sense of one’s life is probably one of the hardest things a human can do. How to cull and shape countless memories into one cohesive slice-of-life story that’s meaningful to anyone other than yourself? As the saying goes, “You don’t get credit for living.” What’s worse is that it became apparent to me while writing that my story was really about identity. Who was I?

Even scarier: Who am I?

That’s what started unraveling the ball of yarn that is my identity, the story of “me.” As I began to question everything, I found less and less ground to stand on. But, as Anaïs Nin once wrote, “The day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” And so I keep on inquiring … and writing … remembering that no one can tell a flower when to bloom.

I hope you’ll join me for a zig-zag, wonder-filled adventure into the Unknown. The first step is to press “Publish” on this post.

Here goes.

Published by

Monica Graff

After two decades of copyediting for scholarly publishers, I decided to put down my red pen and pick up a black one. Now I write essays, some of which have been published on various websites and in print anthologies.