Talking to the house.

I like the delete button. It solves the anxiety that comes when a piece is out of control and heading off the rails. I couldn’t make it do what I wanted. It was a literary teenager, all sulky and willful. Select all and goodbye.

I don’t want to write about the arguments I have with my eating disorder on the semiregular. A quick survey of my written works (and doesn’t that sound pretentious) will reveal the longstanding hate-hate relationship, wherein she tries to kill me by destroying my sense of self and I try to not get dead. It’s endless, and I don’t feel like discussing my eating disorder today.

It’s boring at times, being ill. Mostly because of the chronic. Problems with soundbite resolutions are better. While sometimes I feel aspirational and want to share the inside life of my eating disorder, at other times, doing so seems nauseatingly repetitive. The conversations I have with the plants in my house are more interesting.

Possibly. Interesting is subjective, after all. I’m not crazy, either. Or at least, no crazier than the rank and file. Lots of people talk to plants. It’s only a problem when they talk back.

I’m not sure what happened, but suddenly I’m passionate about my plants’ growth and health. It’s a step up from the historical benign neglect. I’ve been watering, feeding, dusting, and rotating on the regular. I even have humidity trays.

I’ve added to my inside jungle with plants destined to stay: I’m going to need more horizontal surfaces soon. I also have temporary seed trays taking up space, full of seedlings destined for the front yard flower bed. The cat likes the trays very much: young shoots are so tasty. Luckily, I keep the misting bottle handy.

Lizzie, the Cat.

Nobody does a dirty look better than a cat.

Talking to my plants isn’t new, but I’ve increased in frequency lately. It started with the apology I gave my Ficus after a round of heavy pruning. I was worried it would go into shock and die: I became attentive to compensate. I was not having my Ficus Benjamina keel over. It’s twenty-two years old: I’m committed to maintaining its existence. I was worried about some of the others feeling left out, however, so now they all get their share.

Plant guilt is not the only guilt I deal with. I also have house guilt. There’s so much that needs to get done. Not just seasonal chores or my “renovate the en suite” project. Everything gets old and wears out, and replacements are expensive. I’m grateful I have a home, but houses are money pits, and sometimes, I’m not sure I can afford it. Some things will remain forever undone unless I win the lottery or collect one insignificant penny from every bank account on the planet.

I wish I could do better by my house. I like it. I appreciate the way it protects me from the elements. I’m grateful I have a place for my stuff. I’d give her expensive paint and a weekly steam cleaning if I could. If I had the money, there’d be crews slapping on paint and installing new flooring while I write. Since I don’t, offering my house the occasional compliment or expression of appreciation doesn’t seem over the top.

I read about doing this very thing in an article I can’t find. Showing your inanimate objects some love can help create a harmonious vibe.

I don’t think the house is paying attention when I compliment it and I don’t think the plants care what I have to say (though perhaps they appreciate the extra carbon dioxide as I yammer on). Doing these things, however, make me feel appreciative. Doing them helps me hold an “attitude of gratitude” that’s important for living a good life.

I feel better about myself when I’m kind. Though I’m done with tolerating racists and bigots. I’m no longer interested in turning the other cheek. I’ll leave that to better angels. I will keep on thanking my plants, the french doors, and Siri. I like feeling good about myself. It beats the alternative.

17 thoughts on “Talking to the house.

  1. I’m grateful to my plants, because I’ve had this current batch for a while and they’re still alive, which is unusual in my world. I do a daily gratitude entry in my journal, and “home” makes a regular appearance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I honestly feel that the corner of the room where most of them live (in the blog photos) is more calming and more oxygenated. I can even feel the humidity. Plants are good 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  2. beautifully put, Em. I love this piece. Being in a place of gratitude is so helpful and comforting. And necessary to recovery, as you said. I’m with you 100%. and your plants appreciate you keeping them appreciated! take a photo or two and post a few of those gorgeous plants!

    I’ve been there (select all, delete). It takes courage and bravery to lose and start over. Congratulations…writers know when they need to recreate.

    Please keep sharing. I love your blog. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The pics in the article are some of my babies 😊 I put them into word docs and snip them to remove the tagging data. There’s probably a better way but I don’t know it. That’s my house too.


  3. My grandma talked (talks?) to plants and they do much better than other plants tended to by other people, so there might be something in there.

    Appreciating floor… that really got me thinking because … it must be rough to be walked all over all of the time…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Great. Way to make me feel guilty. LOL Before the pandemic, when I could not scream in the office or just lie down for a moment, I would throw pens against the wall when someone angered me over the phone… Thankfully, working from home has stopped that. For the most part.

        Liked by 3 people

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