Friday, April 9, 2010

houseplant anxiety

Maybe it's a control thing. Maybe it's just that I like to watch things grow, and I don't know what to do when they don't. Maybe it's my lack of actual knowledge about the subject. Maybe it's my natural, instinctive, urge to nurture. Maybe I'm just getting used to a new hobby. No, it's definitely a control thing.

My houseplants.

The backstory: My mom's house is full of plants. My grandma's house is full of plants. They are both gardeners. Excellent gardeners, might I add, who keep SUPERB houses and whose houseplants are always green, full, and thriving. So when I was at home for Christmas, enticed by green thumb I thought would be inherent in my blood, I collected a bunch of cuttings from my mom and my grandmother. Then, when I got home, I planted them in my new Ikea pots bought especially for the occasion, and assumed in a matter of weeks I would have plants just those found in my home and peeking out from the tops of bookshelves and bedside tables on pretty much every Apartment Therapy home tour I've seen.

But that's not what happened.

Well, I don't actually know what happened, but there were no full, thriving plants to be found in my home. There were sad and brown, and what little leaves they had were in tatters--and I'd like to think that wasn't all because of Starlee eating them--I did at least attempt to move them out of her reach. Anyway, I immediately assumed failure. Which didn't sit well.

I could think about absolutely nothing else. I started obsessively worrying about the condition of my houseplants. Researching on the internet, adjusting their placement around the house, asking people for advice, calling and texting my mom--sometimes more than once a day. I spent literally hours wondering if I should water them more, water them less, fertilize? Constantly agonizing--what was I doing wrong?

As it turns out, I wasn't doing anything wrong. What I was doing really, really well was exerting every single ounce of energy I had lying around to taking control. Of something. Anything, really. Because this is the most out of control I've been, over huge life/future things...soon, no more school, no job, no idea where I'll be living for the next few years at least, while Kaylee is off all over the country visiting schools making the biggest decision of her life thus far. And there I was grasping at straws, desperately trying to make my silly plants just grow--that's all I wanted. Because that's all I could do. Until she visited everywhere, and we talked, weighed options, and made a decision together, all I could really justify worrying about were my plants.

Now, I'm starting to regain control. I brought my plants to my grandma's house for a little TLC over Easter weekend, and things are actually looking much better. They are green, leafy, and (on the road to) flourishing. I got lots of helpful advice from all the plant-growers in my family. And, I now know where I'm going to be living next year. (Well, what city, at least). I still can't really believe how my anxiety manifested itself, but at least it wasn't too unhealthy. And it's getting better now--I probably spend less than an hour a day worrying about my plants! Because they look awesome now. Just like my future.

1 comment:

Leigh said...

i feel like this could be published in an anthology about something. "plants and their people" maybe. :)