The Simple Charm of the Daisy

Frosty Daisy

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“The splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily
do not rob the little violet of it’s scent nor the daisy of its simple charm.
If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.”
― Thérèse de Lisieux

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Do you like to keep things simple or do you prefer it when they’re complicated?

Is this a simple question or a complicated one…

and will your answer be simple or complicated?

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I suppose some of it depends on your personal definition of those words, what they mean to you…

a simple word can cause complications in communication due to it being used differently by different people…

both words have negative connotations,

and people sometimes use them as a criticism of others… and of themselves.

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I sometimes complicate life for myself,

it’s an old habit which started once upon a time…

I grew up in a reality created by others which was anything but simple,

the slightest thing could be turned into a three-ring circus with more than one ringmaster…

And I do mean the slightest thing.

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“What’ll we do with ourselves this afternoon?” cried Daisy, “and the day after that, and the next thirty years?”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

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An incident which still haunts me…

(due to its absurdity and also the lesson it is still teaching me)…

I was about nine years old, my mother had taken me to have lunch at my favourite place, The Moon Bar,

(it was also a diner)

which had a magnificent night sky painted on the ceiling. I was excited to be there… I just adored that ceiling (in a way that perhaps we’re not supposed to love ceilings)!

In my excitement I forgot who I was with… but not for long, just long enough to be more myself than usual.

As I was about to enjoy a meal of a juicy hamburger, my mother suddenly shouted thunder at me.

The world stopped, and all eyes looked aghast at me and my wrongness.

I was confused, stunned, and simply certain that I hadn’t done anything to warrant her furious reaction.

(I’d made that kind of mistake before… being simply certain was often the cause of complicated consequences)

My mind raced to find what grievous crime I’d committed

(because, of course, my mother wasn’t going to tell me what it was, she preferred to keep that kind of information withheld to maintain her status of supreme being and so that simple things would be negatively complicated for dramatic effect)

rewinding and repeating the minutes, looking for the slightest detail out of place.

Everything had seemed fine only seconds before… what could I have done!?!

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“Dear Diary, Today I tried not to think about Mr. Knightly. I tried not to think about him when I discussed the menu with Cook… I tried not to think about him in the garden where I thrice plucked the petals off a daisy to acertain his feelings for Harriet. I don’t think we should keep daisies in the garden, they really are a drab little flower. And I tried not to think about him when I went to bed, but something had to be done.”
― Jane Austen

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As I tried to figure it out, my body

(which somehow had not lost its appetite, was still focused on the juicy burger and its desire to eat it)

answered my question,

it did something which again incurred my mother’s storming wrath.

But my mind was still perplexed, and in a bit of a panic at that point, as much as it rifled through the droplets in the flood it could not see what the body had done which was causing vicious hail stones to pelt me.

It admitted defeat and…

“What did I do?” I asked my mother.

Probably not the smartest question to ask someone who was shuddering with pious rage, expecting the sinner to know what they had done, and to repent before being banished to hell, but I… really wanted to know the answer and I thought I’d take the simple and direct route to get it… then perhaps I could instruct my body to stop doing whatever it was.

My mother glared at me with the kind of righteous indignation that could freeze and wither Mr. Frost himself. But that would not have done her much good, and it wasn’t doing her any good with me either. I simply did not have a clue what it was that I was doing which was so awful, and the guessing game could go on forever because pretty much everything about me could be the problem.

Was a hair on my arm a little too long? Did I breathe in too much air? Did my nose cast an awkward shadow? Had my eyes glinted in an offensive manner? Was my earlobe drooping?

I hadn’t started eating yet or that would have been the most likely option as the answer to my mother’s freezing fury – my mother particularly disliked the way people ate… with their mouths… chewing… disgusting!

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“Tumbling-hair
picker of buttercups
violets
dandelions
And the big bullying daisies
through the field wonderful
with eyes a little sorry
Another comes
also picking flowers”
― E.E. Cummings

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As it turned out,

once my mother got off of her impossibly high horse to condescend and inform me of my heinous deed,

it was my mouth and eating tendencies which had got me into this latest complication.

I had apparently licked the rim of the ketchup bottle…

I’d done it twice…

TWICE!!! My mother’s head almost (pity it was only almost) exploded because my tongue rolled a double…

so there was no ‘apparently’ about it…

I had to agree that this was rather disgusting behaviour

(perfectly fine, in my view, if that ketchup was mine and at home, but…

as this was a public bottle and others would be using this ketchup, they really did not need my saliva (and its dancing germs) added to their meal).

The worst of it was that I had been oblivious to what I had done. It was a reflex… a tidy one (there was a drip on the ketchup rim and had I left it, when it dried, it would have glued the top to the bottle – so I was being disgustingly considerate, maybe) which had caused chaos.

SO…

that was that,

and had my mother chosen the simple option and told me immediately what I had done

(in a reasonable tone which didn’t need the whole diner to hear about it…)

I would have corrected myself and further complications, traumatic to my poor mother’s sense of propriety, could have been avoided.

This ketchup-licking crime flavoured the rest of the day with a heavy cloud of crimson…

and went into my inner annals in a special section where I keep things that are odd and need to be remembered

(if only because they are odd, but mostly because there are many lessons held within them)

alongside the time I was woken up by a seething pot of mother boiling to be accused of smelling of candy floss… which she could not abide… but it was actually the building which was on fire.

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“Do you ever feel like running away?”
“Of course… Sometimes I feel like I want to run away from everything.”
“I remember having that feeling once when I was at the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm… I climbed over the fence, but I was still in the world!”
― Charles M. Schulz

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The daisy in the photo above is a hardy little flower which for some reason is still flowering even though it’s Winter and it has been covered in snow, flooded and frozen.

I imagine it singing this song to itself…

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29 thoughts on “The Simple Charm of the Daisy

  1. I didn’t see the ketchup coming. But for that reason it made your story even better. Flipping out into a rage for real or imagined crimes is terrible to inflict on a kid, let alone an adult. I loved this line “…and I thought I’d take the simple and direct route to get it…” This is what perpetually confounds and destroys people in the presence of personalities like that. In one’s innocence and craving for some kind of objective reality, you make the mistake of believing that a straight question will yield a straight answer. How silly we are for thinking that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      I didn’t see the ketchup coming either, I can still remember the feeling when realisation finally hit as it happened in slow motion and rippled through me in shockwaves. My mother once accused me of throwing away teaspoons, had a major tantrum about it and lectured me for what felt like hours, only to discover at the end of it that the two missing teaspoons never existed. Then she told me to get over it and stop making such a fuss about something so insignificant.

      You’re absolutely right about how devastating the complicated ways of a narcissist are for others, it scrambles the wiring in the brain which causes fuses to blow and the system shorts out.

      I got so used to everything being confusing and complicated that I still get surprised when things are straightforward and people take a direct route. With my parents nothing was ever in a straight line, it was always tangled up, tied up in a Gordian knot. I used to long for the sweetness of simplicity, a time when I wouldn’t have to spend all my energy trying to unravel a mess of squiggly lines.

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  2. The former child in me relates to the former child in you in the telling of this tale. The creative way in which you express yourself is so lovely!

    I have developed a certain dislike for such high drama as well. Thanks so much for sharing 🙂 .

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  3. Check Tori Amos’ song Daisy Dead Petals on YouTube 🙂

    Daisy Dead Petals

    Daisy Dead Petals that is her name
    she’s in a phone booth phase so
    underneath the shade of a peppermint tray
    she can turn it out with a heal on she just rides into town
    knowing what they’ll say knowing they’re around the corner
    got a crack in got a crack in some strange places

    Daisy Dead Petals that is her name.
    so maybe she tastes like a hamburger maid well
    these dead petals honey brought me here
    she said “these dead petals honey brought me here”

    dancing on a dime hearing mother cry
    maybe she’s around the corner

    got a crack in got a crack in some strange places
    on my back with on my back with some dirty dishes

    falling down, falling down, all over the river
    falling down, falling down, falling down

    wish what I’m feeling could go on like this forever
    falling down, falling down, falling down

    and since we’re down might as well stay
    might as well fry some eggs
    and wave to the shade of the peppermint tray
    she’s a new friend not a skeleton to ride into town
    knowing what they’ll say
    knowing she tastes like a hamburger maid, but

    “these dead petals honey brought me here”
    she said, “these dead petals honey brought me here.”

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  4. Great storyteller ! You describe so well and deeply the terror of a child awaiting the final judgment of her mother for Something you ignored or simply didn’t know you shouldn’t have done.I have lived it a million times.BTW, i always opt for the complicated solution available.I think I like when it’s difficult as I enjoy th challenge but ultimately it can be a pretty easy outlet for failure..

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      That’s your Mercurial mind who loves solving puzzles, the harder the better, the more challenging the more exciting, the more satisfaction if solved.

      It also comes from growing up with narcissist parents because we had to learn to predict all the possible complications which could ensue in an interaction with them. I still do that, list all the possible outcomes, each one more complex than the next… and I have to stop myself and remind myself that I’m not living in narcville anymore. It can be a useful habit sometimes, and at other times… che pizza! 😉

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      1. ma la pizza é sublime:)) non quella che hai appena descritto!!!
        very clever observation, i do it all the time.

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      The WP spellcheck makes me doubt words all the time, that little dotted red line is so annoying sometimes (but it does help make my posts more legible because my spelling is a bit of a mess). It seems to have issues with compound words, especially when used as adjectives or adverbs.

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  5. Daisies are my favourite flowers. Thanks for the photo of the hardy little specimen choosing to brave the weather. It’s like you, blooming as you explore your new home and spread out your roots and having also survived the boiling pot of mother. (A very vivid image, btw.) I think you belong where you are. There’s an Ursulaness about it. 🙂

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      I think that daisy is a good mascot for all of those who’ve survived a narcissist, especially a narc parent.

      It’s funny I’ve noticed that in this place I rarely have cold feet. I’ve always suffered from cold feet and usually have to have a hot water bottle to warm them even in Summer, but here I’ve been wearing flip flops in the snow… and I’ve even grumbled about my feet getting too hot. Sigh!

      Life… and people… and hardy daisies!

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      1. That’s interesting. The “cold feet” metaphor about making a big mistake is maybe an actual physical manifestation of dealing with Boiling Pot, et al. I think your body knows that you’re okay now. Wonderful. 😀

        I grew up that way, too. Not knowing what the hell I did wrong. It’s still a setpoint.

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        1. I remember one day feeling so surrounded and suffocated by the sense of everything about me being wrong that something snapped, crack(l)ed, and popped, and I kind of figured that since nothing I did could ever be right perhaps I should embrace the wrong rather than try to fix it and somehow make it right. It was a starting point for rewiring my thinking as it created a new habit whereby I ask myself – Why is this wrong? Who decided that… and is this wrong perhaps a right that someone else doesn’t like for some reason which triggers some sort of fear for them and so their fear-based bias has become a hammer with which they hit others. Made me look at those things I’d been told were wrong about me differently, and instead of taking things personally I began to return to sender. Something like that… not sure if I’m explaining it well.

          I slowly began to realise that I was being splashed and burned by my mother’s boiling pot, and she saw everything through her own steam, bubbles, and troubled inner waters.

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          1. I think I get what you mean. You realized that there’s nothing wrong with being wrong? That one person’s wrong is another’s right? Wrong is often just a state of mind. 🙂

            And btw, I like the change in your banner. 🙂

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            1. Thank you ❤ (didn't think anyone would notice my banner change. I've been itching to do it to go with changes in my life… since my blog kind of is me… but it's a tricky image size. That's a photo I took the day after my birthday… I wasn't drunk at the time 😉 )

              And yes, that's exactly what I was saying!

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                    1. When I read your comment my mind took a bit of a surreal trip to a place where I didn’t know where the ceiling was, so that’s sort of what I meant by my reply. I was also being silly 😉

                      The actual image is rotated 90 degrees counter clockwise, I’m standing upright in a doorway. When I was a kid I liked to stretch across the narrow hallway in one of the places I lived and slowly climb up to the ceiling, then I’d stay there contemplating things, sometimes I’d read a comic until my legs ached too much to stay there. I suppose I could try that here as there’s one corridor where it might work, not sure if my muscles would be up for it but it might make for an interesting photo… of me falling and failing. If I could catch the shot mid-fall that would be awesome.

                      Your perceptions always get me thinking and taking journeys in the mind. It’s intriguing about perhaps feeling less driven, I agree I feel less in need of grim determination and more in need of some relaxing fun. 🙂

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  6. A comment on the first quote – Check out the early 90’s song “Bright as yellow” by innocence mission – youtube link below. Quote from the song “And I do not want to be a rose. I do not want to be pale pink, but flower scarlet, flower gold, and have no thorns to distance me…”

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  7. Beautifully written, so vivid! I can almost see everything in front of me! I love your language 🙂 I am not a native English speaker, so I could never achieve this sort of language. Don’t think I could even if English was my language. 🙂 Thanks for sharing this.

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      I’m a visual thinker, so most of my writing involves trying to translate images in my mind’s eye into words. I can get a bit flowery sometimes. Much of the language I use comes from having been an obsessive compulsive reader with a love for the gothic and classic works of literature. I particularly loved Alexandre Dumas who I read both in French and English – I sometimes confuse languages which I think adds something… maybe.

      This is pretty much how I speak too, only I swear more, mostly in Italian, when I speak 😉

      It’s just my voice… and how it is. I think if we write to the sound of our inner voice then it flows, and our personal language emerges.

      ps. You write beautifully!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, you have a very vivid language, I love it..! Like an artist’s soul! I feel more like a coal mine worker in my writing, next to you, haha.. I just sort of spew out whatever I’m feeling, mostly. But thanks, you! 🙂

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