Until recently, I thought I wanted to be chosen.
I kept equating this gesture with my worth in the world. I thought I needed people, particularly men, to choose me so I could feel special or important. It wasn’t until a recent nature hike that I abandoned this ridiculous theory and, thus, set myself spinning off my axis.
I immediately wrote to my best girlfriends and told them I felt inspired to write a piece—an epiphany was on its way in the form of the written word. So confident I was in this new train of thought that I wanted everyone else on board.
In my youth, I often collected wildflowers. I would rip them from the ground and deposit them in a glass of water in my room or on the kitchen table. I always felt disappointed when they died, so I would leave them sitting out, wilted and sad, until they fell to pieces. I repeated this cycle until the fields stopped blooming or they became so commonplace that picking them no longer seemed worthwhile.
As I grew older, when I drove past patches of wildflowers on the side of the road, I felt a longing deep within me for a garden of my own. I would occasionally fool myself into thinking I would actually take the time to plant seeds and lovingly attend to them. That never happened. One year I grabbed seeds from Home Depot, threw them into my yard and hoped for the best—ultimately forgetting I planted them at all.
It wasn’t until this year when I began hiking diligently that my appreciation for these flowers reemerged. I marveled at the fragrant yellow rows and ogled the wicked blackberry blossoms. I even paused to take pictures to remember them by. Not even the smallest bulbs, tucked away under palmetto trees, went unnoticed amidst the boisterous blooms showing off at the center of the trail.
I stopped to touch each and every one of these delicate treasures and never once plucked one from the earth. I preferred to leave them there, growing proud for the next person to enjoy.
One day, something remarkable happened along my usual walking path. I began to identify with these flowers. They breathed the same air as me and sought a place on the same soil. They survived off the same sun and rain I did. We were the same—living, breathing specimens of random beauty. Sometimes misplaced, sometimes wilted, sometimes proud and strong, we each face toward the sky and soak everything in.
Sometimes I would find patches of these flowers trampled into the mud and think to myself, “Aww, life got you down.” Other times the flowers were closed up tight, unwilling to face the trail, and I would think, “Staying in bed today eh?” nodding in empathy.
That’s when it happened. The realization hit me like a clap of thunder in a summer storm.
I don’t want to chosen.
I don’t want to be plucked up and thrown into someone else’s life until I die.
I want to be left beautiful and wild.
I want to be appreciated exactly as I am or not at all.
Some people never stop to notice the beauty in small things. They operate on a superficial level, just scratching the surface of the human experience.
Then, there are wildflowers. To us, beauty is measured by the roots we plant and the limitless nature to which we aspire. We stand proud and bold in the middle of the road.
We wildflowers have no concept of our aesthetic. We don’t compare ourselves to the flowers around us, nor do we try to fit any mold. We bloom as we were intended to, unapologetically. We don’t care whether every single set of eyes sees us or none at all. We exist. We live freely. We have not a care in the world, nor a desire to be anywhere but exactly where we are.
We are not made to fit a template, to conform, or to be chosen. We are meant to simply be here as we are. We appreciate our unique beauty in whatever shape or color it may be. We are here to compliment each other, to grow roots, to weather the rains, and to inspire a smile in those who meet us along the path.
Stay wild and be wild!
Our beauty lies in our ability to be what no one else on this earth can—our unique being.
I am a wildflower.
You are a wildflower.
And that is all we are meant to be.
Author: Christie Page
Image: Allef Vinicius / Unsplash
Editor: Danielle Beutell