Monday, March 05, 2007

Traching your Tulips

the act or process or an instance of transpiring;
especially the passage of watery vapor from a living body (as of a plant)
through a membrane or pores

A friend of mine, who is studying horticulture, gave me this word. I like it.

It came up in a conversation about tulips. Yes. We talk about flowers sometimes. Don't you?

I adore tulips. Tulips and daisies really do it for me. I'm not a fan of the roses. All you potential suitors would do well to keep that in mind.... just sayin'. (I imagine I will be bombarded with tulips by tomorrow... oh yeah... hang on, I'm cracking myself up again here.)

Oh that was good.... SO any way...

I was telling her a trick I'd learned many years ago. If you're familiar with cut tulips you know how fragile they are. Or should I say, how fragile they SEEM. You bring home a big pile of inexpensive - 2 dozen for $10!! - tulips from your corner store - put them in some water and oooh and ahhh at the beauty that is the tulip. Then you leave the room for a minute, and return to a head drooping mass of color.

If you've experienced tulip droop you know how disappointing it can be. And no, popping a viagra in the vase will NOT perk those petunias back up.

You think to yourself. GOD, what is the USE? I try to cheer myself up with these flowers and the damned things are dead before you turn your back on them.


You see, like so many things in life, it seems the worst comes right before it gets better. Really. The darkest hour is before the dawn is seriously valid. So hold tight while I tell you how to revive your precious attempt at beautifying your living space or just cheering yourself.

You need a sharp thin knife, or a razor blade (there's some irony here actually). Take each tulip that is droopy and slice a sliver of a cut vertically *horizontally will just behead the poor thing-so don't do that* just below the blossom - a quarter of an inch is more than long enough. Put the tulip back in the water and just wait... leave the room again... turn your back (they're shy)... within a very short time you will be astounded. The tulips are up and standing tall and happy once more. And they will stay that way for about a week - depending on how hot the room is.

After I told her this she exclaimed: OF COURSE! TRANSPIRATION!!!

Well. Of course.

Basically it's a tracheotomy for your tulips. It allows them to breathe again, and thus stand tall.

The metaphor here, if I may, is that sometimes you need to do something you would never think of to save something beautiful. You are beautiful. If you need some help to stand tall - and breathe - there are things you can do. Things you might not think of, or that you might be afraid to try.

The first time I "trached" a tulip I was terrified I'd just make things worse. How could slicing the stem make a drooping flower perk up? It's counterintuitive. But when you're depressed you feel the same way. I certainly did.

Years ago I tried antidepressents - tricylic. I'm not gonna lie: it was a HORRIBLE experience. That's because I have conditions that are not compatible with tricyclic antidepressents. And I had a doctor who didn't know a tulip from a station wagon. After that there was no way I was going near medications again. Hopeless. Frightened. Ten years later, suicide was my 'better option'.

Well that would certainly have been stupid. It would be like throwing out the drooping tulips.

See, I just didn't think, I was scared - and I gave up.

Psychotherapy? Puh-leez. Been there, done that. And I KNOW where my issues spring from. Knowing doesn't always fix things. So there: psychotherapy. Of course if you don't know why you feel or act as you do, then it can certainly help. For me, knowing was not the problem - knowing what to do to FEEL better was the issue. Therapists had no answers there. (thanks guys!)

Therefore: I'm chucking the droopy tulips. Buh-bye.

When I broke down crying in my internist's office she gave me a prescription for Zoloft. She said it was worth a try. I shined her on, took it home and said, "Right. How can slicing a slit in a tulip stem perk it up? No, gracias."

I was going to kill myself, screw the meds (I knew they wouldn't work - why try?).

Then I had myself a little epiphany at a joyous musical that was, essentially, my life story with a better attitude. Like a parallel world where optimism ruled over pessimism and depression. I decided maybe a little slit in the stem couldn't hurt. And hey, if it didn't work, I could kill myself any way. What the hell.... why not try?

So I filled that prescription and started taking it. And I started to breathe again. Oh not instantly, I had to wait a little while (I'm shy like a tulip), and just hope that I was doing the right thing. Surprise! After a few weeks I found that I wasn't drooping so much any more. The 'trach' worked! No one was more shocked than me.

Just because something seems like a lost cause, just because something seems terribly fragile, delicate to the point of dying, doesn't mean you can't give something radical a shot. What's to lose? It may seem scary. May seem too hard to do. May seem pointless. But you know - what the hell?! Why not try? Make a phone call: ask for help. Try a med, or a new med if the old one isn't working.

Trach your tulips. They are tougher than they seem. And so are you.

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