(This was posted on my personal blog last year about this time, but I’m surprised at how relevant it still is for me)

These attention seekers are from my front yard. This year they have come in waves. The yellows faded into the background as the reds exploded in front of them, and the hybrid of the two came up last, much scarcer than the rest – which made me sad; they’re my favorite. Each day that I pull out of the driveway, I smile to myself as I catch their vibrant colors in my view. Sometimes they are closed to the chill of morning, with their lips pursed as if to slurp the dew that clings to them. By the afternoons they are usually split wide open, welcoming the sun as they turn themselves outward, showing all that lies inside them.

This is how I feel lately. At times closed off from the elements of a harsh reality, and at others opened to new possibilities and opportunities for growth. It’s an exhausting push and pull of protecting myself from damage in one moment, and showing my vulnerability in the next. But I do it because that is how I know I can survive the inner turmoil that is a conflicted life. If I remained tightly sealed, I wouldn’t be receptive to what helps me to grow. If I left myself open, the bitter winds of judgment and assumption would rip me apart.

It’s a delicate and dangerous balancing act that I’m learning to live, but I suppose it’s worth it right now in order to show my true colors. I feel vibrant inside, and I want others to see the life that I hold within me. I want to let it out so that I, too, can see its value and beauty. And I’m grateful when others choose to risk the harsh and changing climates to let me see their beauty too, even when I know the blooming may last only a short while.

It makes me sad to know that my tulips will soon be nothing but petal-less stems, but I’m grateful that they last as long as they do. And I try to remember that they will be back next spring.



Corktree is exploring life and spirituality in new ways and new environments while studying midwifery, reiki, yoga, homeopathy, herbology and evolutionary nutrition. She has 3 daughters and one son, which add up to what now feels like an enormous family of 6.

You may also like...

8 Responses

  1. Lacy says:


    And in the same vein (different genre, though): I read this last night in Tina Fey’s “Bossypants”:

    “Again, don’t waste your energy trying to educate or change opinions. Go ‘Over! Under! Through! [Sesame Street reference]’ and opinions will change organically when you’re the boss. Or they won’t. Who cares? Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.”

    This is so not normally my take on life, but it really resonated with me. As has the entire book so far. Seriously, I’m laughing out loud at every page and it’s considerably lightening up my complexity consternation . 🙂

  2. Alisa says:

    I totally feel this push and pull of a conflicted life you speak of, Corktree. And I think it’s great that you are willing to stay in this tough place and figure out how to be your truest, authentic self. There are so many angles to consider, and doing it gracefully is challenging.

    I really appreciated the Daughters of Mormonism podcast with Sara’s interview (I think it’s #4). She discusses how wonderful it is to have a husband who challenges her, and how likewise it’s wonderful to have a Church that challenges her. I know that the Church challenges me in different ways than it challenges others: I happen to be challenged to stay even though I don’t really fit in, or to stay even though there is a lot of people feeding negative motivations.

    At times it can get exhausting. And I think it’s OK to be gentle with ourselves, taking a break when needed, whether that break is a deep breath or something longer.

    • Rilee says:

      Thank you for your post. I am recently discovering this community, and have found such peace and comfort reading the thoughts and insights coming from posts like yours. Three of my best friends have left the church. I am able to explain that I cannot leave, and yet completely understand their decision. It is hard–to be at a crossroad and neither turning left or right, trudging through the middle.

      • EmilyCC says:

        Rilee, so glad you’ve joined us. It is hard to stay at that crossroad.

        This diverse community of bloggers (made up of those who stay and those who leave) share a respect and love for each other that I find touching and wonderfully comforting.

  3. Macha says:

    I feel so similar to this, wanting to grow and experience more, but terrified of being exposed and hurt.

  4. Cole says:

    It is so beautiful and correct I feel exactly the same about this, as i feel the attention from the flowers so are we trying to pull the attention. thanks for the beautiful post

  5. Deborah says:

    A strong metaphor, Corktree. I often feel courageous and cowardly in a single moment, within a single decision . . .

  6. Stella says:

    Agreed! I’ve been feeling the same. I’ve taken the Bruce Lee approach to life lately. “Be water, my friend.” Water can flow or it can crash–and I need to really pick my battles and learn to let things flow and not have to fight everyone.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.