grow, marvel, eat, laugh, persevere

Sunday, July 31, 2011

White Hibiscus: Physical Representation of My Inferiority Complex

Do you have a plant in your garden that, when you look at it, you almost get embarrassed that you grow it?  For me that's my big gaudy white hibiscus.

I am always fascinated by how things going on in my garden are such tangible representations of what's going on in my head.  What's going on in my life.

The flowers on this hibiscus are around 10 inches wide.  From a distance they look like plates on a plant, so sturdy you could pop them off and use them as Frisbees.  But when you look closely at the blooms you notice the delicate crisp white ripples that draw your eyes to the center which you only notice is pink when you're face to face with the bloom.  The bloom flutter when the wind blows like the edges of a light cotton summer dress.  When you touch them it's clear they're very delicate.  But boy do command attention!  When you walk by there is absolutely no way not to notice them.  Sometimes I gasp when I see them myself, even though I know they've been in the same spots for 3 years.  I have one planted in the backyard so that I can see it from the kitchen window and one is planted in the front yard garden for the passers by to admire.

In general, I walk around trying not to be noticed.  I've definitely got an inferiority complex and body image issues.  I know it goes beyond weight because the times in my life where I've been much thinner and very fit I loved to shop for stylish clothes and although I loved the way I felt in them, I hated for people to notice me, or my clothes.  "That outfit looks really amazing on you!"  I'd cringe, roll my eyes and launch into pointing out the bad parts of the outfit or my body that may have gone unnoticed.  When the conversation was over, I'd walk away smiling, but with the same tape playing in my head.  Idiot!

The hibiscus evokes the exact same response.  Coneflower, black-eyed susan, shasta daisy, snapdragons, BIG GAUDY HIBISCUS!

Nobody has ever visited my garden while the hibiscus is blooming and not commented on it.  And when they do, I am catapulted back to that place inside me that likes pretty things but doesn't like the attention.  I'm on autopilot, rambling, pointing out all the flaws in my garden, how the hibiscus really doesn't belong here.  It comes from the same place as those "I am not worthy" feelings.  And when I walk away I'm playing the same tape in my head as before.


  1. I see those big ol' hibiscus flowers growing at Friendly's restaurants around here and I can't figure out how in the world anyone could want something like that in their world. Except that I went to the beach a few years back and saw a woman who was larger than Namu and was having the time of her life. I learned a lesson. If you're happy with where you are, damned be the rest of world. By the same token, if your hibiscus is happy with where it's at, damned be the rest of the garden.

  2. I love my crazy-ass fuchsia hibiscus. I'm not sold wild about my rose and a lot of things that have gotten away from me.

  3. Hahahaha..I just did a post about how wonderful these big ole Hibiscus are!I love the big in your face blooms of many plants...Peonies, Irises, Hydrangeas, just to name a few. Life is short...I'm gonna eat ice cream for dinner, grow all the big gaudy flowers I want, and try not to judge myself (or others) too harshly.
    God made you beautiful Gina.

  4. I totally relate to this. If someone complements something about me, be it garden related or not, I have a habit of responding to their complements with self-criticizing statements. Them: I like your hair. Me: Yeah I could use a trim for sure. Then: I love those zinias in your garden. Me: Yeah, I know Zinias aren't the most refined thing ever. I think its a mental illness. lol! Its like I find it difficult to show pride in my own likes / dislikes / opinions etc.