Discover more from Katie Mae's Dailies
Of Flowers and Asphalt
One day when I was living in Georgetown in DC, I was heading back up Wisconsin Ave towards my apartment after my walk along the K street waterfront. It was a sunshiny spring afternoon. The sun warmed my skin. But in my heart, I was feeling heavy.
As I got closer to home I noticed a beautiful pink flower growing up between the cracks in some pavement by the gas station. I practically ran to it. Then I crouched down as people walked by me and took a picture of it.
Because this flower inspired me.
Growing where it was planted!
Fighting towards the sun despite being flanked on all sides by asphalt.
I knew when I saw it, that little flower was ME.
Any time life would get hard I would say to myself: Bloom where you are planted. Make it work. Don’t give up.
And I carried that metaphor with me for years.
It wasn’t until around this time last year, when I was having an amazing session with my life coach, that she helped me see things differently.
Sure, there are times we need to do all we can to make a situation work. We don’t want to give up too soon. We don’t want to stop at the first sign of challenge or adversity. This can stunt our growth and confidence and even increase our anxiety.
But, then there are times when life seems to be nothing but back-to-back challenge and adversity. We do our best to get back up, but before we can, another wave comes and knocks us right back down.
There’s no real way to bloom like that. When it becomes all about survival there isn’t room for growth, learning, or fulfillment.
And so when my life coach asked me, “What about if instead of always feeling like you need to “bloom where you’re planted” (which is passive and something being done TO you), you consider moving towards planting yourself where you can bloom? (which is assertive and something you are in control of)”
It is healthy to have resilience and grit so that we aren’t knocked over or knocked out by every little challenge or struggle life hands our way. BUT it is also just as healthy to know when to shift, change, quit, move, or in some way change our circumstances when possible in order to make it easier to get rooted and truly start blooming.
We can’t keep getting knocked down over and over again and expect to somehow have time and energy to grow and thrive. Expecting to bloom in those circumstances can become demoralizing and demotivating.
I came to my life coach and therapist at the same time in my life telling them I was burnt out, overwhelmed, and discontent. I needed rest, restoration, and I needed help in working towards living a more contented and fulfilling life.
I had been trying so incredibly hard to “bloom where I was planted”, but as it turns out, when you are autistic and ADHD and don’t have the support and understanding you need about yourself you can “bloom” yourself right into total burn out and not be able to do much of anything at all. (And, clearly, this also happens whether someone is autistic or ADHD or not)
My amazing life coach suggested I consider finding ways to feel more in control and empowered in creating the life I want instead of feeling I am at the mercy of where I am planted.
Truly, this was revolutionary for me.
It helped me realize all the ways I had, without meaning to most of the time, designed my life in such as way as to please and accommodate everyone else and their needs. I would then do my best to “bloom” in places and in ways that were best for everyone else and then feel bad about myself or broken when it didn’t work as well for me.
But for so long, instead of recognizing this as an unhealthy pattern, I prided myself on my hustle and drive and ability to overcome.
Yep. Hustled and drove myself right into never-ending, viscous cycles of burn out, anxiety, and depression.
Feeling my whole life that my wants, needs, and desires are “too much” or too inconvenient had me satisfied with living a life of daily struggle thinking that was the best I could expect.
I can’t tell you how empowering it has felt partnering with my husband T, who has always wanted me to bloom into who I am and live a fulfilled, satisfying life, but didn’t always know how best to support me in doing so, in creating space for me to bloom.
I have transplanted myself from the asphalt and into wider pastures with plenty of room to grow and get the support and nourishment I need AND deserve.
As it turns out, I am actually a little patch of WV wildflowers!
I am going to write more on the various ways I am working on creating a life that nourishes and fulfills me while trying to balance the needs of my family and create spaces for them to also choose where they want to bloom.
It’s not easy to balance everyone’s needs, especially since some of us are neurodivergent as well, but it is much better for me to try and walk that line and figure it out instead of automatically giving up all my needs for others like I have done for so much of my life.
One big important way I have accomplished this HEALTHY BOUNDARIES.
*If you want to learn more about my life coach, check out her website here: