It’s spring break, and the Trents are in Seattle for the rest of the week. Seeing this much green and budding flowers has been good. Especially since snow is in the forecast back home.
Yesterday we went to Pike’s Place Market. We sampled chocolate pasta, drank some really good cider, noshed on delicious local cheese, and inhaled fresh cinnamon donuts.
Between seeing the gum wall and fish fly, I stopped to admire the many bouquets of fresh cut flowers. So many colorful spring bouquets bursting with tulips and accented with branches of blossoming plum made me giddy. Many were rolled up in brown craft paper—perfection itself.
I saw a man carrying just such a bouquet away from the market as we were leaving. He was hard to miss in his red track suit. And I found myself wondering who the flowers were for. A sweetheart? Maybe his wife or husband? It was a very cheerful bouquet… Maybe the flowers were for a friend who just had surgery or a new baby? Maybe they were for his mom? Better still a grandparent who he plays Scrabble with every Thursday night. Maybe those flowers were for his boyfriend or girlfriend or person? Maybe those were apology flowers for his sister and he is rehearsing a speech, “I’m sorry I did your crossword and dribbled coffee on your Seattle Times.”
And then I thought, why couldn’t the flowers just be for him?
Why was the idea that this man was treating himself to a bouquet the last thought that popped into my addled mind?
Why is it, even with all of Miley Cyrus’s insistence, such a foreign concept that we can treat ourselves to flowers? That acts of kindness can be to ourselves from ourselves?
I don’t like the term self care. I don’t think it is fair to say the fall out of modern life can be solved by a DIY mani-pedi. There is too much blame wrapped up there on the already over-burden individual. As in if I just practiced self-care and learned to take better can of myself then… What? We all wouldn’t be in over our heads in a mental health crisis? Self care feels like suggesting we all apply a band-aid for a hemorrhaging wound, and then wagging fingers of “I told you so” when the band-aid doesn’t work. Plus, there are real barriers, financial and otherwise, to accessing self-care.
So… maybe I refused to muddy a beautiful thing, like a bouquet of flowers, by suggesting this man was practicing self-care. Maybe toxic masculinity and gender stereotypes were at play too? I try hard to catch and challenge those, but there is room for improvement. Men can buy and enjoy flowers for themselves.
Regardless of who the flowers were for, I hope they were enjoyed. They’ve done studies that flowers do in fact make people happy. They certainly make me happy. All the positive associations. All the pretty. All the color. All the good smells. And this week, I’ve noticed that I’ve been feeling extra cheerful wandering around a city that is in bloom. I’ve been snapping pictures (the same posted here) too.
Happy spring everyone and happy weekend? Anyone readding anything fun? I’ve been enjoying The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune and The Curveball by indie author Megan Cousins. I find it helps to have a physical book and something fun on the kindle when traveling.