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Terminal Bud

Updated: Mar 19, 2021

A terminal bud was explained to me this past weekend by a dear friend and mentor, Ann. It is a part of a plant, where the entire energy force of the tree, shrub or bush is focused on one spot, one bud, to bloom. This one bud being nurtured, cared for, supported by the entirety of the plant, from root to limb, from trunk to twig, to grow. To change. To morph into what it was always meant to be.

In order to blossom from a bud to a flower, it first has to unbecome the part of the branch it once was. It first has to let go, trust, before it can transform into something else.

I was so fascinated by this, I looked it up. The actual definition of a terminal bud is the primary growing point at the top of the stem of a plant. An example is where a flower opens up on a plant. The primary growing point. Where the flower opens up.

Phases. Cycles of existence. Stages of life. This triggered moments when I have morphed. When I have let go, to become. I find myself back at that familiar point.

Recently, I have dove into writing. To try to clear my mind, the noise, find my voice, speak my truth. Process it all. I have started this blog. Fearful, but feeling the need to continue, to uncover, to admit. I have posted vulnerable truths. All what I have set out to do. But now, a familiar voice whispers in my mind, pulling at me, convincing me I should stay quiet. To creep back into my shadows. To remain unseen.

I have been here before.

I spent years trying to be unnoticed. Invisible. I come from a family of secrets. From a young age, I have been taught to grow silent. To not share the seeds that others don't want out. I have kept them caged. In a vault. Covered, deep within the soil, for so long they have eaten away at me. Burying part of me along with them. Physically manifesting in different forms.

My sister chose to deal with her secrecy, her truth, her silence, by medicating. Then by breaking the law in various ways, stealing to support her habit. Refusing to turn my back on her, because we felt like the world already had, further trained me to stay silent. I couldn't ask for help. I couldn't share her secret. Expose her truth. It would be a betrayal. She could get in trouble. Lose her freedom. Get locked up. I had to keep secrets. I had to remain quiet or lose what I had left. I purposefully stayed out of sight. In the shadows.

Now, under the restraints of a pandemic, I feel my outer shell breaking. I feel those seeds of secrecy growing roots and cracking the surface. My entire body working, forcing all of it's energy, into breaking out. I feel the terminal bud. One part of me is dying while the other part is coming to life. All with a painful fear that wants to paralyze me, keep me in the silence, disappear in the darkness. Unnoticed. Remaining invisible.

Yet, I find myself leaning into the light like a bud tilts to find the sun.

Again, I am on familiar ground. When I was 16, I was confronted with a similar moment. I found a safe place in the confines of a hospital. I was sick, skinny, neglected. My body physically ill from the secrets I kept entombed. The toll it had taken existing in the dark for too long. Stuck in the effects of denial.

I almost immediately recognized I was in a safe haven. I was within the grasp of help. I could be nourished. Cared for. Supported. I was consciously aware of this instant, this second, this heartbeat, being a choice. A way out. If I could speak my truth. As if tending to my own spiritual garden I had to break my silence. To chose my well being over loyalty. To chose something else. The moment of the terminal bud. I first had to let go of what I was holding onto and trust an unknown process of becoming.

As a staff member asked me how I was feeling, I miraculously found the courage to speak. I blurted out to this woman everything I had kept bottled up. The abuse, the neglect, the secrets. Everything I had shamefully protected for so long, hidden, without light, without air, without life. I unburied them. Realizing I had to let go of the person who carried these seedlings. Releasing them into the wild, allowing them to be planted elsewhere. Realizing the death had already happened. What I was holding onto would only keep me from blossoming.

As the words left my mouth, I simultaneously felt a sobering fear and an immense liberation collide inside me. Once again, the room grew silent as I awaited her response. Unsure of what was going to happen next, but confident I took a necessary step.

In a split second, I had experienced being unshackled. I had seen a speckle of light leading to the impossibility of ever covering myself back up again. The woman believed me. She helped me. That help got me out. That help saved my life. That help morphed me into something new.

My family admitted to some of the secrets. While continuing to deny others. But my truth was spoken.

It's happening again. As I embark on this new journey. As I continue to unearth and allow the light to shine in. Hearing the voices, the denials, the judgements, the outside noise. As the fear seeps back. I have to continue opening up, exposing who I am now. Focusing on that primary growth point. Within me. I feel the force, the energy, from root to limb, from trunk to twig, to grow. To change. To morph into what I was always been meant to be. I welcome the next phase. The next cycle. The time has come once again. It's time to let go and fucking bloom.

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4 comentarios

As you reveal your transformation grows from a place of safety, so that pain can be released ... and the illustration both in photography and prose... I think readers will recall and re-explore their own moments of transformation. Beautiful weaving.

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You have a real gift of framing your stories around an analogy and theme, Jo Jo. I truly look forward to reading your posts on Fridays, the layers of you slowly revealed. From this one, I’m left curious about the details of your childhood, and I hope you to continue peeling back every Friday, for your voice is original, needed, and wanted.

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Josie L James
Josie L James
10 jul 2020

Thank you Lisa! I get excited for your Friday kind words and support. 😊It really means so much to me.

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Lisa Dymond
Lisa Dymond
10 jul 2020

I am moved, Josie.I love how your thoughts meander like the wandering vagus nerve, itself, when & how to regulate; when & how regulation isn’t possible. I love also how this terminal bud brought these thoughts into your awareness. Right time, right place to hear all of it. I get excited for your Friday posts, so keep on writing!

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