The Scent of Lilacs

The lilac tree and bushes have blossomed in our yard.

The tree is a particular miracle. We thought it had died when we took over the house. Now its gnarly bark, deep green leaves, and lilac flowers provide a spring sculpture in the garden.

Our whole yard is actually a garden. The birds seem to like it.

I don’t know where I’m going with the blog, or why I started with the lilac tree, so bear with me.

What is weighing on my heart right now is some advice I was given yesterday. I was, a woman told me, my own worst enemy. I was not really warm and fuzzy, she said if I felt passionate about something.

My delivery was the problem, she said.

This came from someone who had either witnessed or heard about (it’s not clear which) the outbursts of rage I had counted on as my homing beacon.

It also came from someone I liked. So I felt like I had to give it some consideration.

In light of what I wrote just two days ago – that rage had been my homing beacon – I could see why she might think that. And because shame seems to be the emotional hangover from rage, I felt ashamed.

I searched inside myself to determine what I felt ashamed of. Had I hurt anyone? Had I harmed anyone? Had I offended anyone?

Then I also remembered that she said, “Sometimes you just need to learn to swallow in this world.”

I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask her, “Swallow what?”

The answer to the questions did I hurt or harm anyone is no. At first I thought I might answer yes – that I had hurt or harmed myself. Then I realized that any harm that came to me came from trying to gain acceptance from a system that requires you to swallow – or as I sometimes put it – eat a shit sandwich and pretend it is chocolate. The harm didn’t come from the anger – it came from wanting blood from a turnip, thinking that it was my fault that the turnip couldn’t give me blood, and then being angry that there was nothing I could do to get blood from that turnip.

That’s what I mean about releasing demons. I learned to let the turnip be a turnip.

As to whether I offended anyone. I probably did. But that was not my intention. I think that sometimes, when you let the turnip be a turnip, it gets offended that you know it doesn’t have any blood to give you. And it doesn’t want to believe that.

It’s complicated because I know I’m the common denominator in a group of women who don’t like me – who really, really, really don’t like me. I have never experienced anything as vicious as what was directed at me by these women.

As I said, I learned what I wanted to be acceptable for, and sought those who found that acceptable.

It feels much better.

Yet, it was very painful yesterday to be told I wasn’t warm and fuzzy. That sounds like I was being mean, and I don’t think I was. I think I was just refusing to accept what was unacceptable for me.

I think that all of us, men and women, need to stop thinking that we have to smile when we eat a shit sandwich and act like its chocolate.

I started writing about the lilac tree to keep from writing about what was weighing on my heart. It didn’t work. It didn’t take me away from the weight.

But I trust that I started with it. Maybe it’s that because I watered it, the lilac tree began to thrive. In the spring, for a very short time, it blossoms and its blossoms have the scent of lilac.

It’s a light scent – lightly sweet.

It is what it is, that lilac tree. Old, gnarly, with blossoms that deliver a lightly sweet scent.

This Morning in my Garden

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