I had always been obsessed with plants, especially flowers, so when I spotted a cactus for sale at the university fair on my very first day of university, I have no idea why I bought it.
It was small, in a terra-cotta pot and looked, as my friend, Jake said, “like a penis with two balls.” He was right. Thankfully though, the average penis doesn’t have sharp barbs that are going to tear you apart, so that’s where the similarity ended.
I carried that cactus to every class that day and then when I got home, lovingly placed it on the window sill of my room at college where the sun could shine in upon it.
I had that cactus for over 4 years.
Until my mother decided to kill it.
Not on purpose of course. What I can’t understand though, is how anyone can actually kill a cactus. This is one of the most resilient plants in the world; one that can withstand heat and a lack of water. It’s the kind of plant designed for lazy people (like me) who forget to water it and only remember every six months or so. I certainly didn’t smother it with love.
My mother, however, did.
She watered it every single day.
My response to that was, “WHAT THE FUCK?!”
Her response, which was much the same as her response to overfeeding my fish and killing them, was, “But it looked thirsty.”
Needless to say, I was a little sad when it passed and I haven’t bought another one since.
Last year she decided to buy herself a plant and name it after me. I wasn’t so sure that was a good idea. She assured me that she would take care of it this time and it would survive. Taking care of it meant watering it. Too much.
It died soon after.
So, the point of this story and why I’m telling you all this is because you can push someone away or even kill them with too much love and affection. Don’t smother something because you care about it. Instead, let it be free to live its own life and make its own mistakes.
That’s what love is all about.