They say after addiction, you start with plants then a pet and finally when you are able to care for all three; yourself, the plant and the pet, only then you'll be able to care for love.
I have 11 plants and a dog; they are both pretty healthy I'll say, the plants get watered on Tuesdays and my dog spends her days following me around, playing with the boys only for a few minutes and at night she curls up on her bed and dreams of biting her tail.
My first plant died a week after I got it, I am sure it was because I had no idea of the science behind caring for it; I spent 3k on my first dog, Kloe: I found her a new family and gave her away months after, my patience was very immature at the time.
Screaming my lungs out to feel heard was my one and only skill; I felt hard to understand in every connection I made, and looking back I used sex as a distraction because I needed to ignore the water damage my tears were making every single night.
I was given my first plant by the very first connection I made after years of running from myself; Emily became such a huge part of my healing, she nurtured trust and patience and before I knew it, we were inseparable. Emily had lost her husband months before to me loosing my dad; and so we bonded over grief.
Emily gave me plant number 1 of the 11 I care for today; she taught me how to re-pot a plant, how to get to know the plant, how to understand it's needs, she taught me patience in the growing pains of season changes; she walked me through the worst storm I had to fight internally; I fought for my life, after loosing my dad, I was fighting the motivation to move on, to find a piece of wooden debris to float on, to feel again.
I was scared to get different types of plants because I didn't know if I would had been able to care for them, and as time went by and I foster one plant after another, my patience and confidence became evident.
Crossing over to caring for a dog was hard, plants don't bark, they don't eat daily and they don't need to potty; Kloe was a hurricane, a puppy we fell in love with at the shop, a pet we had no idea how to care for other than the basics, Kloe needed way more than what I could've given her and so months after almost loosing my mind over four paws, I re-home her, that was one of the best decisions I've taken, though sad, the kids adored her, I had to accept that I was not ready for Kloe, I had to come to terms with my progress.
Many times I had to stop and recollect myself through this journey, had to make some ugly decisions as well as some beautiful ones; had to take some punches but at the end I learned that the quote is not an instruction manual, the process of patience is not a measurement of how good you are, its a skill you gain when you understand that taking the time to care for something or someone is an investment we consciously make that being daily, weekly or whatsoever; what you learn in the process is more important than what you end up with at the end.
The process of understanding that I had outgrown my pot was scary; and through a few rough seasons I now have a forest of plants in my wall high window apartment that Lea secures daily; that my kids get to grow in, that we get to color with our favorite memories. I now get to give and receive love daily, I now get to understand that Love is not always happy, Love can some days be sad, or just not in the mood but Love is never far away, because Love is ever growing, ever evolving.