Cultivating our Garden
In #comeasyouare, @enagoski (Emily Nagoski) constructs a metaphorical narrative describing the development and cultivation of the human sexual self. In the metaphor, we are all born with a little garden (the sexual self), each in need of tending. This little plot of land is both similar to others and uniquely our own. Because we are small and relatively helpless in the beginning, the people closest to us, within the context of our culture, tend our gardens for us.
Right away, others begin the cultivation of our soil – teaching us about our bodies, how we can relate to others, how others may relate to us, and what may or may not be within our power to choose, amongst so many others. In short, the people closest to us begin modeling (often implicitly) just how often the soil is to be watered, which plants are to stay and what needs to be done with the weeds – if anything needs to be done, at all. And then there are the consequences taught if we don’t follow this prescription – how can we forget the consequences!? Through common language, or discourse, we learn information and attitudes about our garden and the meaning of gardens, in general.
Eventually, the responsibility of tending our garden becomes our own and, one day, some have a realization that they did not have a choice with regard to how their garden has been cared for. Some may have relatively healthy, thriving gardens, right from the beginning and, sadly, others have a different story. There are many who have to work incredibly hard to undo terrible results of inadequate or toxic gardening as they yearn to see their plot of land flourish.
Nagoski writes, “All of us are engaged in the ongoing process of cultivating our gardens — digging out the weeds and nurturing the plants we hope will flourish. Often it’s a joyful experience; sometimes it’s painful; always it’s deeply personal” —- and I would add, worth it.
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