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Favourite: Sheer Stubborn Perversity

By Kellie Purcill

The image that started it all…

This past week my Facebook and Twitter feeds featured the above picture of daisies.  Most of the related clickbait headlines or comments were practically glowing with panic and horror, like “Japanese radiation deforming flowers!”  “Contamination mutates nature!” “Flowers, fruits and animals suffering years after tsunami-caused nuclear disaster…” “I think these are GMO flowers #seriously #eatrealfood #gmoisdeath #coconutwaterislife”  (these aren’t real quotes, just general summaries of ones I saw).

After a quick click or two to check that the flowers had apparently been photographed in the area claimed, I stopped reading the wheezing, shrieking pieces that went along with it. But I found myself thinking about the photo every day.

I LOVE those little flowering champions!

Stubborn: adjective stub·born

: refusing to change your ideas or to stop doing something

: difficult to deal with, remove, etc.

In the face of all sorts of challenges, that plant just got on with living. Deliberately, stubbornly pushed its roots a little deeper down, in order to better stretch for the sun. Then, using its inbuilt DNA and resources, flowered.  In spite of changes in radiation levels, not being in a nurtured garden, it just got on with life.  And not only did it manage one flower, but several, and in bold and surprising ways.

Perverse: adjective per·verse

: wrong or different in a way that others feel is strange or offensive

Of course, humans freaked out because all the flowers weren’t normal – some were weird, perverse, wrong looking and not how they were meant to look, at least according to the people freaking out online. I’m betting that flower doesn’t know, doesn’t care, and (unless one of those pesky humans has come and dug it out or cut it up) it’s still there, photosynthesising away, flirting with the bees and hoping for rain.

We all have our own mutations, perversities, and quirks. Childhood memories, upbringing, genes, musical delights and unmet dreams. That’s not to say that they’re not all beautiful. It’s not to say that they’re all beautiful, either. We all have our own chunk of dirty life to deal with too, and some of us are far from rich, fertile, adored gardens. But God damn us if we don’t do something with where and who we are. He expects us to grow, to build, to try to try, and then try again.  And He’s loving us even more than those stubborn daisies… even (maybe especially) when I’m throwing a temper tantrum in the mud.

Sometimes I look around at other people’s lives and think Wow, that is a beautiful Versailles garden… Oooh, gorgeous koi pond rockery! Fairy garden *sigh* … The trick for me is to not wish or try for myself to have or make that garden, because that’s not where I am.  That’s not how I’m meant to grow.  It’s also hard learning how not to resent the master gardener for not placing me in the easier parts of his garden, and not clarifying if I really am a messy Snowy Mountains mountain side (which I’m tending towards)… or a frustrated  forgotten cactus.

I feel an affinity for those flowers. Stubborn, perverse little speck of life trying to be what it’s meant to be, right where it finds itself.  All my family, when asked to describe me stubborn comes in at either first or second place. Weird usually follows. I was born that way, and of all my vices and virtues, those two have grown the strongest, and worked the hardest to help me survive and then thrive. It’s just one of the ways I am, among many others. There are countless, many unknown reasons why we’re all the way we are – humans, moods and flowers included – and I don’t have to understand them all, let alone most of them.

But the daisies reminded me that most of all,  not only do I want to bloom in my own, crazy, improbable way, but also (instead of freaking out, cutting down or messing up), I want to admire and celebrate whenever someone – in spite of their own difficulties and problematic garden – with sheer stubborn perversity manages to bloom as well.

Definitions from here.

What type of garden or landscape do you think your life is? Do you have qualities or traits that you see as a positive, that are usually portrayed as a negative? Do you see beauty or grace in different?

About Kellie Purcill

lives way on the other side of the planet in her native Australia and gives thanks for the internet regularly. She loves books, her boys, panna cotta, collecting words, being a redhead and not putting things in order of importance when listing items. She credits writing as a major contributing factor to surviving her life with sanity mostly intact, though her (in)sanity level is subject to change without warning.

3 thoughts on “Favourite: Sheer Stubborn Perversity”

  1. This is great! Thank you for this celebration. Yes, it's the quirks that make each person memorable and valuable. I get a lot of feedback about my quirks (I'm very outgoing and self-confessional, so this invites a lot of commentary from others.) Sometimes I feel anguish for my "personality excesses"; sometimes I feel joyful about the things that distinguish me from others. When I am being mindful, I reach out to others and validate them for their unique qualities.

    You list "stubborn" and "weird." I most frequently hear "organized," "authentic," "self-aware," "articulate," and "energetic" when people are being supportive. (But "control freak," "no-filter," "self-obsessed," "big mouth," and "anxious" when people are being critical. I need to run away from the critics and run towards the cheerleaders–and even more importantly–run to God to have him, and not flawed mortals, temper my weaknesses and bolster my strengths.)

    God bless us all to focus on the POSITIVE when viewing others–and when looking at ourselves. And with that in mind: Dear Kel, you are creative, pretty, articulate, insightful, nurturing, silly, passionate, strong and more-than-a-survivor-but-a-thriver!!!! I will celebrate you every time I see a flower this week.

  2. Oh dear do I wish I could write as eloquently as you Kellie!!!!

    We all have our own garden to tend. Some of us scored acidic soil, some alkali, some full plentiful water to call upon, and a lot of us, gardens with a vast supply of 'fertiliser'. (And seemingly some full of plutonium/strontium whoa!!!)

    Its what we choose to do with this vast supply of 'fertiliser' that makes the difference. If one allows the fertiliser to smother us, we cannot see the sun, our seed will sweat, over heat and failure to germinate is the end result.

    But with sheer stubbornness, if one can push through the fertiliser, properly processed in bite sized chunks, this fertiliser will be the fuel that can provide for germination and ultimately long term growth to grow into tree that can reach for the sun. And in good time, provide shade and comfort for many in our lives.

    Sure we may have a few kinks in our bough, some odd knots, even a few broken branches. But its these that tell us the story of how our tree came to be and something we can all appreciate and learn from as we partake of its shade and rest our backs against its strong trunk.

    Every tree and ever flower tells a story. All are beautiful and glorious if one takes the time to run their hand over the rough bark, feel the knots and listen to their song.

    Sadly, many today do not stop to smell the roses, nor do they stand and rest their hand on a tree, rather they make their superficial judgement call from afar.

    Wouldn't life be a little less beautiful if all trees were uniform, white, symmetrical and made by a Swedish furniture company or a well known company represented by fruit?


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