When Janet I did the gardening, one of our observations was each client grew weeds that prospered in their garden. Living next door to each other, each client had different weeds. For example: “the should do,” the unwanted grass; “mother’s fault,” the sour grass; “neglect,” the giant messy dandelions. The client tossed their weeds into their gardens among their flowers. The negative emotions became real in physical gardens. Janet and I pulled and pulled—two women, one black and one white, working side-by-side equal in the gardens. With help from the owners, the weeds disappeared.
So, I looked for a weed in my garden. Horrors, I discovered the unwanted stink onions. While their leaves omit an odor as foul as the bulbs, the flowers smelled sweet. The onions grew among the roses and along my path coming into my house. The stink onion spread by small bulbs under the ground and caused severe crowding of the other plants, which called me for attention.
The stink onion seeds resembled pearls. I learned the pearls were associated with tears, regrets by decisions made, my annoyance that needed clearing. I also spread the pearls in other gardens as seeds; the flowers smelled sweet. I was a tool of oppression casting my negatives!
I hated myself; I let this happen. These stinky, multiplying aggressors—my negative “males own everything”—corrupted my writing and art space. I had a friend, Jackie, and we assured each other this happened in the art world. We were the proof, women left out, planting the negative deeper.
Burdensome, stressful, and tedious to remove, the troublesome bulbs showed no remorse, no guilt, and required digging, again and again, year after year. The work and constant watching caused an enormous demand; I planted the onions over a long time, sweet flowers with stink roots.
With patience, care, and persistence, daily I dug up the roots. Actually, in the end, a group of young African American males helped. They wanted work. Oh, yes, I did have the stink onions. I gave a nickel for each bulb removed or pearl found. The young men were also at odds with mainstream white male norms, rules, and standards. Finally, today, African Americans and feminists rewrite our social norms.
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