A little over a year ago I walked into a local hardware store. I don’t remember what I was there for, all I know is that on my way to find it I fell in love with a fiddle leaf fig tree that was on sale for $20. I picked it up, carried it with me to whichever aisle held my required item, and then I went to the checkout counter.
Once home, I quickly named my plant “Figgy Azalea” and she’s been with me ever since.
When I first moved into my new apartment, I stuck Figgy on the floor below my kitchen window. It seemed like an obvious spot that got great light. I also thought it would be easy to track her growth based on her relation to the light switch.
For the first few months, she sat proudly under that window. She stayed green and healthy but didn’t really grow. Then, at the beginning of December, I moved her to a different spot in the living room to make space for my little Christmas tree. I stuck her next to my couch, in indirect light, and wrapped tensile around the base of her pot for decoration. A few days later, a baby leaf sprouted on her stem. Within a week it blossomed into a full blown, bright green leaf. I was so excited! I took pictures like a mother on her child’s first day of school, fighting back tears as she says, “you’re getting so big” under her breath.
After the holidays, I was prompt to take down my Christmas decorations. I still lingered on a few Christmas movies, but I wanted to ring in the new year with a fresh, clean apartment. So I took down the tree, packed up the decorations, and moved Figgy back to her spot under the window.
Within a week or two, she started to lean, reaching for (or away from?) the sunlight. Again, she stayed green and healthy, but it was almost as if she was pointing to the corner where she once sat. She was a kid tapping at their parents’ side as they chatted to a friend at the bank, “I don’t like it here, can we go home now?”
Then one of her leaves fell off.
I moved her back to the spot next to the couch, and again, within a week, a baby leaf sprouted.
Figgy knows what kind of light she likes to grow in, and she isn’t afraid to ask.
Direct sunlight—the spotlight—is not for all of us. Some of us like to be a bit more in the background.
There is a quote from the book Quiet by Susan Cain that says, “The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some, it’s a Broadway spotlight; for others, a lamplit desk.”
It’s not always easy to ask for the lighting we want. It’s not always easy to pursue the lighting we feel most comfortable in—especially if those around us don’t agree. But we each know where we feel we have the best opportunity to grow. And it’s in our best interest to find it. Or to ask for it.
Take it from Figgy, find your light and let yourself grow.
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