I am sipping wine in a garden in Tuscany where the flowers tumble, one over the other, with little effort and great glory. They flirt with me, confident in their radiance and their right of place. I am struck with how bold these flowers are. Not just in their colour and form but in their conviction; to bloom and to be.
A rose is a rose.
It never tries to be something else, it doesn’t bemoan not being a statuesque chestnut tree, it doesn’t question the meaning of its thorns or its colour. As far as I know, it does not suck in its breath to makes its stems skinnier, or lift its blooms higher to appear more intelligent. It doesn’t question whether it should unfold its petals, given that there are so many others doing the same and it has “nothing different to offer”. It has no time for regretting the quality of the soil or envying the sunny part of the wall. It seems to simply ground itself in the earth where it has rooted and goes about becoming what it was always meant to be.
In all its glory.
To the best of its potential.
With no apology.
I am mesmerized by this idea.
What if I lived as this flower does?
What if I lived without apologizing?
What if I lived with a simple knowing that my only task was to actualize into what I already am, not some construct of what I, or society, believes I should be?
In my twenties I apologized for the tears that flowed so easily, for not knowing enough, for wanting to stretch instead of conform, for being a dreamer, for being smart, for having an eating disorder.
In my thirties, I apologized for the tenderness of my heart, my need for belonging, my idealistic views, my defiance of the rules, my obsession with self-help books and dance parties.
In my forties, I apologized for my ambition, my intuition, my soul that recognized itself as both a goddess and a businesswoman, my weight gain, my success.
And through all of those apologies, I consumed time, nursed anxieties, and spent great energy fulfilling a promise to myself to get it right and be more.
What if had simply lived all of these expressions of me with the boldness of this flower? No apologies, just understanding that those things that emerged were an inescapable part of my form, just like the petals and the scent are for this rose?
What if I didn’t get caught up in thoughts of tomorrow, but rather turned myself over to the gentle becoming of who my soul already knows me to be?
I am a rose.
And in that, I feel a huge wave of relief.
I do not have to create from scratch. To become, to strive for perfection or to define and accomplish a great purpose.
I do not have to change, nor re-invent, nor apologize. No more lists of 20 things I should do to be happy. No more time wasted fighting who I am. I am relinquishing the search for “who I should be” and simply trusting that I need only discover how to be who I am.
The fullest expression of me.
Which means the fullest acceptance of me, and all my Tania-ness. Is that even possible? My round tummy, my full laugh, my head full of stories, my exacting demands for excellence, my love of colour and intuition, the quirky sense of humour, the empathic sensitivity that can leave me gasping and the need to be held. My words, my intellect, my exhausting double-checking, my discipline and my moments of defensiveness. My need for space, my love of the French words like “frisson” and my emotions, pinned to my sleeve.
I am nervous as I confess these things and I hope I can do it.
I think I might like being like a rose and go about being what I was always meant to be, without explanation or apology. How refreshing it would be to live with others who are doing the same. Leaning into the living who they already are, knowing that we each have a place.