Truth can be painful. Truth requires the strongest courage. Sometimes I write to tell a story. Always I write to seek out my truth. Because for me, writing is spiritual – in the way that embracing a painful truth is spiritual. I write to explore, to find truth, and to grow. And right now, my bones are aching from this winged sort of growth. So I’m telling myself now – and all the people who need to hear it – it does get better.

It does get better.

I threw away 38 of the 40 roses he gave me. Red roses. The color of carnage. I threw away 38 and kept 2 because they had a little life left in them – brown on the edges and beginning to sag at the top of the thick green stem, but they still had a richness of crimson that screamed “I’m alive.”

I kept the pair of roses and encircled them with bright sunflowers – sunflowers whose shining golden petals where beginning to softly bend inward, and small purple cattails that aren’t really cattails, but they look like it so that’s what I’m calling them. They remind me of fun and spontaneity and they rise above the bouquet calling out to grander times ahead. I slid delicately into the small glass vase the red velvet fillers that remind me of the inside of an old mahogany jewelry box – a sacred kind of container where you keep close the pieces someone has given you out of the deepest sort of love and appreciation.

I threw 38 roses away and I kept 2. I kept 2 that held potential.

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At some point these roses must die. At some point the leaves must start to blacken around the edges into a crispiness and the heavy heads will droop as the bottom of the stems turn a slimy brown and the leaves begin to rot in the water. All things must end. Or is it change.

We’re changing. We’re talking about change. We’re endlessly talking about changing our dynamic. And I know we must change because the stems of our relationship that feed us water and nutrients are coated in thick brown gunk. Caked over with deeply held resentments, hurts unspoken, and disappointed hearts.

I don’t know how we’ll do this. I don’t think it’s as easy as rearranging ourselves in another vase or surrounding ourselves with more flowers. I think this is the painful part of cutting back the dead. Less like a rose in a vase and more like the rose bush planted on the side of a mountain – its soft petals susceptible to the elements, the pests, and the pH of the soil.

I want to be softer – to embrace the subtle pinks and whites instead of the harsh red. I need the soil to feel solid and rich instead of like sand that blows away with the slightest hint of wind. I’m willing to be cut back and cut down and cleaned out with the sharpest pair of shears so that I can bloom into my very best. I am willing. Is he?

Can he let go? Can he trim away the dead? Or does he no longer want a rose?

I worry that he’d like a dandelion.

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