Of all the flowers my mother planted, I loved the pink cosmos the best. They would fully bloom in April, when fog would pour over the landscape like thick cream, turning their flowers to tiny islands of pink in the swirling mist. Then, my mother would take a hoe and weed them all out. She mostly did this when she was angry. She loved movement when she was angry; movement and conversation. I on the other hand welcome only stillness when I am morose. And I was often morose.
And nothing would lift my spirits more than to wear my white, torn jacket (inherited from my grandfather) and go and lie beside the spread of pink cosmos. I would be swallowed by their mystery and imagine pink kingdoms where pink trees grew, offering shade to pink princes and pink princesses. Sometimes I would turn them human, into full-grown women wearing pink sweaters. They would sit beside me, heavy and round, with crow feet scattered round their eyes and tell me tales of their lives: of husbands they had loved and buried; of sicknesses they were slowly dying from; of tears they had shed for their children. When mother would start digging, I would hear their screams echo in the fog.
I wonder at times, why my mother loves movement. She once told me that she is unlike any other human being, that her first thought, if she was to encounter a lion, would be to fight rather than flee. This makes sense since she grew in a female-only household, with her father being dead and her brother mostly away. She learnt how to skin a cow and to fence, to snare wild rabbits and to drive a tractor. She learnt how to react in an instant, and pick up a fighting stick, when a neighbor, looking down on their female-run household, tried to steal a section of their land. I thought about this recently, when I was lying still, agonizing over a sentence in a story I wrote. I decided to move about to see if I would get some relief. There was none. My steps were slow and hesitant, lacking that definite grace my mother would walk with.
Beautiful tales that makes us travel to wonderful places, thanks a lot.
Thank you Christa. You are always to travel here.
Pink floral islands!? Love the idea, imagery. Then I think every flower is its own exotic island of beauty, grace and awe. 🌸
It is. I think it is a symbol for a human life. Short, intense, and so, so beautiful.
I like your imagination. I think I’d like to hear about the stories the pink women told you. But I like what this story talks about: how two very different people deal with sadness. I find myself sometimes prefering movement and conversation and sometimes stillness and imaginative escape.
I want to go for movement now. I think we sink inside our grief if we don’t move. Clean the house, take a walk, watch a play, run even if it is raining…just move…life rewards movement
I understand what you are saying. But you know, whether I move or be still, it is something that happens naturally. If I find myself staying still, it becomes hard to try to move and if I find myself moving instead, I feel disturbed if I stop. Makes me think both has its advantages. The last time I fell into a period of depression, I was still. I would lie in bed all day and night and feel like I am sinking in thick, suffocating mud. I would day dream about sad things but somehow it would slowly make me feel better. I never cried though. But the time before this one was very different. I had cried a lot, talked a lot and done a lot. It was hard to stop because stopping was like staying still on burning coals. I dont know…. Maybe it is wise to try both movement and stillness…, whatever feels right for at the moment.
It is interesting how you put it. That both stillness and movement work. I never thought of it that way. Every time I kept still I felt as if I withdrew from the world too much. It became too intimidating for me and I would withdrew back to my shell. Movement made me tackle the world. Allowed me to break it into manageable chunks. I will try and reflect on the benefits of stillness now. Because for the longest time, I just respected people who just kept moving.
I’m glad. I think being still is an important part of who you are and accepting its advantages can be healthy. I think it is great that you can step outside your comfort zone to use movement. With stillness although it helps you face your own feelings and thought process (an opportunity to fix yourself internally) there is the danger of drowning in them and even falling in love with your pain and staying withdrawn for too long. People who prefer movement get over their sad feelings easier, afterall focusing externally means tons of distractions, family/friend support etc. But the danger here is in locking away your feelings only to have it burst out later or simply self-ignorance. Things like empathy, sensitivity, self-awareness and self-building are better learnt through stillness.
How do you choose between movement and stillness? Or does your depression/grief/heaviness/loneliness choose it on your behalf?
Yup… I never really get to choose. At least the initial reaction which lasts at least a week. After that I become more in control and I can change or use the same method of coping. How long do u normally remain still before things ease up again?
That must be hard to do… It takes me a week at least before I can force myself to do the opposite of what I am inclined to…
I keep on moving nowadays. I forcefully distract myself from unwanted, heavy thoughts. I chat to friends on social media. Or I watch a movie. I just want to keep on moving now.