I was two when I strolled through the gates that were unlocked the day I pushed out of my mother. A single flower proudly stood close to a barren hole not too far from the gates, and I move towards it. I feel the loamy texture of the soil on my bare feet and see the wide fences barricading me in. The beautiful flower was emotion, and it had bright purple flowers, small and clustered together into a ball. When sadness registered, the beautiful flower turned red; and the strong stalks slumped. I would come to learn of more complex emotions, but at that moment, those were the two I was most familiar with.

At four, I sowed curiosity with my own hands. I bury the seeds deep in the fertile soil. Curiosity is a dangerous flower, even with her beautiful blue petals that spread out from the stalk. Unlike joy, she had thorns, and I seldom found myself getting hurt whenever I allowed her to make decisions for me. All that glitters is not gold, and not everything that piqued my curiosity turned out for my good. Till now, the scars linger through the garden.

I was ten when the stalks of insecurity meandered through the bars of my fence. They grew and curled, inching ever so closely towards the gate, entrapping me from all sides. I longed to cut them down, stop them before they extended too far, but I never could. It didn’t take long for the effects to show. The overthinking and worrying when trying new things and the paralyzing feeling that blossomed in me when I had the chance to speak, even if it was something I was confident about.

After insecurity came falsehood. She was another stunning plant introduced into my garden when I was five. What made her unique was that with every lie I told, she shrivelled; and bent at the stalks. Now she is a fickle plant, standing tall but grotesque. Even with regret filling my heart or after I confessed, she never regained her earlier beauty. I can not uproot her; I can not burn her away; she is always there. Her gnarly body is a constant reminder.

At seven, the hole, which was empty from the start, filled with clear water. Thoughts and fantasies surround it, small shrubs drawing nourishment from the water. Sometimes, sitting at the edge of this small pond, I would look down on its reflective surface and watch myself. There are days when the waters get murky, and I don’t even recognize my face. When this happens, thoughts get vague, and dreams seem wilted.

At eleven, I notice a tree standing tall and proud at the edge of my garden. A tree I had no recollection of planting. Its branches spread out, with large leaves covering every inch, providing warm shade and an unexplainable umbrella of safety. An umbrella to which I got familiar and comfortable before recognizing the tree for what it was….fear. It had crept up at the edge of my garden without my notice. Now it is too big to uproot, too strong to cut down and too large to ignore. She reigns over the garden; her roots dig deeper into the soil connecting to every other plant from underneath the garden.
Against my wishes, I am drawn to this tree; it pulls me with false security and envelopes me in the warmth of its shades. So I spend some of my days watering her with my insecurities and sunning her with my anxiety.

The years roll by, and more of my plants flourish in the garden. There is creativity, a colourful plant with different flowers growing on it. Knowledge flourished in my garden, a large plant close to the pond where I spend most of my free time; when I am not under fear. Knowledge is a simple plant, no flowers, no flamboyant colours, just green. It grew greener with every new thing I learnt, feeding off my experiences.

Now, I am older, and I stand at the edge of my garden, hand against the fence. I gaze at the other gardens around me. I see tens of them every day, but I can never see past the mist surrounding them. They can’t see past mine either. Unless I allow it, or they allow me, the contents of our gardens would always be a mystery no matter how well we think we might know each other. Insecurity pricks at my finger, but I don’t turn away; I guess curiosity is sticking her petals out again.

I want them to know, to hear the words that bounce in the cocoon of my garden. I want to learn their differences and share some of mine. Maybe, I think to myself, my fingers now tightening against the fence and insecurities thorns breaking through my skin as I do. A small smile teases at the tips of my lips, and my grip loosens. I back away from the fence. Maybe one day I’ll do it, open the gates and let everything that’s hidden free.

One day, one day, but one day when?

11 responses to “THE MIND GARDEN”

    • Much thanks. Read a bit about it and it sounds like an amazing thing to do for students. Mental health is very important


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