I awoke to see that three healthy looking buds had fallen from the orchid. My heart pounded in my chest and I went straight to my computer to research the problem. Extreme fluctuations in temperature. I moved the orchid to a shelf away from the direct assaults of the Freon infused air. Maybe this will save it. Or maybe death is just inevitable.
There is crystallized snot on the floor next to my computer desk. I didn’t notice that it had spilled down from my face during yesterday’s cry. I don’t feel like cleaning it now. I place the fallen bulbs there for reasons I cannot and do not care to fathom.
It’s time for work again. Only one patient today. I can do this. It’s five minutes until session. Schizoaffective Disorder. What does that even mean? I look it up and feel more lost than before. None of that means anything to me. I don’t care.
She was anxious yesterday. She invited the four-year-old students to touch the sticky sap spilling from the stump of a tree. She says it reminded her of The Giving Tree (a book she read in childhood). Will the parents shame me if their children come home with sap on their clothes? Will the administrators tell me I did something wrong again? Why do I doubt everything I do?
Because you are a freak. An outsider. Because you’ve been told that you are too much for much of your life. And sometimes you have been too much. Not because you’re crazy but because people’s minds can be…narrow. Because people don’t know how to hold space for that. Your vision is overwhelming and disorienting to some. And yet it allowed you to bring a child-like wonder and passion for nature to these children. They understood it. They were delighted. There is wisdom in being able to delight children in such a way.
It’s time for a poem. Let me read you a poem from another misunderstood person named Fernando Pessoa. His worlds will mean more than my pedestrian words. “And I’m very good at noticing things/I’m capable of feeling the same wonder//A newborn child would feel…/I believe in the world as in a daisy”. You are excited. Good. Because Pessoa too was thought to be insane. Perhaps he was. But he understood things others could not.
There is nothing romantic about pain. Please don’t misunderstand. We must take care, I must take care, not to romanticize the pain. But there is something singularly special about your vision of the world. You found life and beauty in a stump. You found what this broken tree had to offer; that it still had something to give. You are not crazy for remembering The Giving Tree. It makes sense. And it would have made sense even if you had gotten reprimanded.
You will continue to be misunderstand by the many. You must take solace in the unconventional people in your life. Not only in your loved ones, but in the poets, writers, painters, film makers that are misunderstood and thought to be insane. These are your people. I wish I could tell you that I lack your beautiful vision but that I too am crazy. Or I feel crazy. Is there a difference? Yes and no. Lots of yes and lots of no and lots of in-between. We must walk through this conventional world and, at times, play a game in order to survive. But know that it is only a game. A silly game invented by people who are afraid without knowing they are afraid. Most people are afraid without knowing they are afraid.
I do not know if I can heal you. But I’ll help you find beauty. No, I will simply point out the ways that you already find beauty. That’s all I have to offer. I’m too tired and maybe even unskilled (and I don’t care about the latter) to offer more. Let’s just have conversations about your life. I’m in no position to offer expertise, only an outside view. Trees. Forest. Platitudes.
Now I will walk. Perhaps at a snail’s pace. Perhaps with tears in my eyes. But I will walk. I will place headphones in my ears and play no sound. Then maybe people who see me cry might believe I am crying because I am getting bad news on the phone or because I’m being moved to tears by music. That stuff makes more sense to people.