Speak to a flower sweetly and it will grow. Speak to a flower callously and it will still grow, just in different ways.
I know this. I’ve been that flower.
It’s amazing how plants perform, accommodate, and change. I had quickly grown accustomed to my husband’s stomping around the house, his critical raging lectures, the pouring of love paired with vicious neglect.
This was a cycle I’d come to know in the domestic violence community as “idealize, devalue, discard.” Before I honed these words, I leaned on the language of gardening to pull me through.
Now, our country is fighting a destructive non-human enemy, and as many as one in four women and one in nine men are quarantined with their abusers. Not everyone is safe at home. Some are fighting a secret war within.
For all of us, this is World War Virus. Serving as “soldiers of the soil” at home, our elders won World Wars I and II by planting victory gardens. We can do the same.
A garden gifts the hungry food, and it gifts the trapped a taste of freedom. You are still free to grow from within, from a yard, balcony, or windowsill. For victims of abuse, gardening could be the stepping stone to victory.