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more letting go

November 7, 2012

Three days ago, I terminated 2 more social media experiments: Tumblr, and Pinterest. During the year I had a Tumblr blog, I had 2349 posts (mostly written by other people), 86 followers, and I was following 73 blogs. I was on Pinterest much less time—about 10 weeks. During that period, I created 23 boards, that contained 476 pins. I had 11 followers, and I was following 31 people.

I never could figure out what Pinterest was good for. I liked ‘collecting’ pretty pictures, but so what? Like so many other social media, I sensed that extroverts were getting a lot more out of it than I was.

If introverts designed a social media platform, how would it work? What would it look like? Why would you want to do it instead of reading a book? (Or some other solitary activity)


I recently read Priscilla Stuckey’s book, Kissed by a Fox, where she writes about having conversations in imagery (not words) with nonhumans, like the titular fox.  As I gathered books to mention in my review of hers, I was reminded of Stephen Buhner’s, The Secret Teachings of Plants, where, iirc, he communicates with plants. I’ve always talked to my house plants. And for years, I would occasionally ‘hear’ responses in my mind’s ear that I liked to think were my plants responding to me. They were always the kinds of comments, though, that a somewhat-snarky human friend might have made. I never ‘opened up the floor’ to what they might want to talk about. Until three days ago.

I felt silly doing it. I used some words, because many concepts I like to convey seem to need them. This time I didn’t get words back from them. I think I got pictures, and feelings. Or else some other synesthesia-like (that is, cross-wired) experience.

I was thinking about my balcony potager plants, many of which are annuals. My balcony potager in 2011 also had annuals, but a lot fewer of them, and I brought the 3 smallest inside once the weather started getting cold. They surprised me by persisting through part of the winter, but then died. This year, though, most of them are in window boxes or long planters, so they won’t fit inside our tiny apartment. So since Indian summer abruptly ended with Hurricane Sandy, I was lamenting the loss I anticipated. I was hoping for, well, a little sympathy I guess. A bit of a hug.

I don’t spend much time in my studio anymore, which means I don’t interact with them. Right before the hurricane, I found myself in the studio remembering that I had meant to put all 4 of my houseplants out onto the balcony with the potager plants for the summer. I kept postponing doing so because of uncertainty about when the last frost of spring had finally passed. And then I just forgot. In remembering all that, I felt . . . anger and resentment. I was pretty sure I knew which plant was sending me that message, if it was indeed the plant. (Why would I be angry and resentful of myself, when not taking the plants out meant I avoided a lot of bother?) I apologized to the plants, somewhat absentmindedly. I thought about doing better to remember to take them out next summer, but obviously that’s not for many more months. I felt bad about that. But then I cheered up because at least they would all be safe inside with Spouse and I when Frankenstorm hit.

I’ve delayed writing this post because I’d almost rather believe I was/am going crazy than the painful alternative.

Apparently my houseplants—at least one of them—would like to move out, and live with someone else.

When I told Spouse about this, I was surprised to learn that he thinks it’s possible for plants to communicate with humans through pictures (or whatever). He doesn’t think I’m going crazy, but he does think I’m either projecting, or the plants are being mean to me. I really don’t know what to think. But I’m trying to accept it with good grace, which is really really hard.

I now want to be in my studio even less than before. However, my bathroom is in there, so I can’t avoid it entirely. Also, I’m steadily working through some stubborn organizational challenges in my studio. The houseplants can’t leave under their own power, so we have to face each other.

All of my previous excruciating breakups happened relatively long distance, because before now I was never living with them. But I have to arrange what happens to them—they can’t just walk out on me. One of them is in a large pot too big for me to move.  I don’t know anyone locally, so I can’t ask a friend if they would be willing to take 1 or more. Spouse suggested Craigslist. That seems so . . . cold, for beings I’ve known for 20 years and more.

I don’t think they’re being mean. Maybe they’ve always wanted to travel. Maybe they’re tired of being ‘owned’ by a mopey depressive who doesn’t talk to them or water them enough. Maybe we’ve grown apart. Maybe 100 things. Maybe I’m losing my mind.

If none of this is ‘real’—if I’m truly living in the fantasy world my father accused me of—why am I not imagining better, more enjoyable, things?

I took a few hours to deliberately imagine scenarios that first required me to no longer own house plants. What if Spouse got an overseas assignment for his job? What if I got an artist in residence thingy? What if I got some great job that required a lot of travel?

This could be an opportunity to live differently than I ever have as an adult. (My first independent household was me and 2 of these plants in my first apartment. I didn’t know Spouse yet.)

Three of the four plants came to me under difficult circumstances; the fourth was a gift. I’ve loved them all dearly, but it’s true that I didn’t pick any of them out. We didn’t pick each other out. Maybe they’d like to pick someone out. Maybe I would. None of these ideas make me a bad person, or a disloyal friend.

I can’t think how to end this.

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