I once sent flowers to a boyfriend. He called me desperate & cheated on me. It was toxic masculinity feeling so threatened by flowers that he felt he had to punish me.
Luckily, I had people who kept me from internalising that wound. Every man I spoke of this to, said he’d love it to have someone do this. One friend said, “Men like flowers too.” It gave me hope. I started taking flowers to people. Friends. I figured women would be more accepting. I wasn’t always right. Some told me I was being ‘weird’ and asked if I had a crush on them and if they should be ‘worried’. Another lesson in patriarchy. So many people set in the idea that flowers could only be gifted in a romantic context by a man to a woman.
I thought about the times I’d received flowers. Rose Day in college where the giving & accepting of flowers were fodder for gossip mills. Banks sending me bouquets that were more plastic than petals, on my birthday. Events handing out mass produced single wrapped roses to all delegates. Gajras being offered at traditional functions always with a joke about how my short hair made me not feminine enough. Flowers were always fraught with feeling.
A flower is a plant’s ability & willingness to procreate – to attract insects that can carry pollen & seeds. It is the universal symbol of desire, life, connection to the rest of the world. These are big things. No wonder people are so scared of them. Perhaps they realise instinctively that they cannot afford to ignore or treat frivolously.
Flowers are beauty, gentleness, the ephemeral. There are flowers that bloom for just a day but what a magnificent day it is! Flowers come from life that needs nurturing but bestows the carer with these gifts. It is a poor life that makes no room for flowers.
If you have the space in your life, grow flowers. Nothing reminds you of life like they do. If this is not possible, even a cut flower will share its joyfulness for a day. Give it fresh water and it may live longer. For now, look at images of flowers where you find them. We have not yet lost them. Make way for flowers in your life. You deserve them.