flowers grow through concrete
“flowers grow through concrete” 2022.
24 x 24 wood canvas in black gallery floating frame. ink + plaster + acrylic + concrete stucco + oil + sand
Sometimes my anxiety takes over my entire life, almost like in the way concrete is poured onto old driveways. Sealing cracks shut, filling potholes, and ditches without cleaning out debris stuck in them. I lived like that most of my life. Multiple traumas ranging from large catastrophic events to little events that offered affirmation to the negative core beliefs developed; sitting in a ditch somewhere in my body with concrete poured over it. Leaving me with a false sense of closure and healing without the knowledge that there will come a time I will need to get repaved. Different cars pulling up into my driveway leading to the home that is my body, slowly stripping away at that pavement that I desperately wanted to stay sealed forever.
Plants grow through concrete. What came first, the microscopic crack invisible to the naked eye within the concrete, or the new plant growth at the tip of the root? The sensitive tips of the roots have the power to seek the path of least resistance for growth. Microscopic concrete cracks present this path for plants growing beneath the driveway. Once a plant’s roots discover a microscopic crack in the concrete, they force their way into the slab. Even small weeds and seedlings have the power to displace concrete using potential energy from root growth. Over time, the plant’s continued growth can crack, break, or buckle the surrounding concrete – at which point you may see the plant break through the surface.
I have a bad memory. This quote stuck with me since I read it a long time ago, “flowers grow through concrete, so can you.” I have always pictured my brain as different folders and cabinets with different memories stuffed in them. I have always wanted to have the ability to shut the cabinet shut, and never open it again. After hearing this quote, it resonated deeply within me. I describe my anxiety to people as a brick on my chest and in my throat, forbidding me to move or breathe. Stuck left feeling like I was going be crushed by the weight of the imploding feeling. Like concrete being poured on pavement.
The more time that passes, and people I meet that trigger memories and beliefs the more weeds pop through. The microscopic path being broken by the plant trying to barge through to the surface. The weeds that push through are the memories I must face and process. Picking at them, leaving behind this crack in the pavement. Sometimes I can breathe easier, memories offering explanations for why I think and react in the way I do. With that knowledge comes pain, and with pain comes growth. No one ever heals in comfort. You must face discomfort to get comfortable.
I have mistaken suppressed traumas for healing. I stuffed my feelings as far down as you can, I drank my feelings, I ate my feelings, I worked so much I could not feel my feelings, and yet these weeds would still pop up when I least expected them too. The more weeds I pulled, the more pain I faced, the more flowers would grow. The weeds still pop through, as healing is not linear. Flowers burst through too. Blooming flowers in the form of blooming self-love and acceptance. The beauty of growth and acceptance. There are days I let the plants breaking through ruin my day, and the inconvenience of the painful memories that come with it. There are days the plants that break through are processed, picked, and admired in a bouquet reflecting on how colorful my life has been thus far. A bouquet of both flowers and weeds offering acknowledgement of my growth and pain waiting to be given to someone else to reinstall hope that they can grow through concrete too.
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