[for those of you not versed in the flora of my southern homeland, this is a camellia, and this is a camellia bud. that'll help with the metaphor.]
i tend to be a little circumspect in my real life. that may be surprising to my loyal readers, given how i spill my guts all the hell over the internet, but it's true. anonymity is a really empowering thing, and without it, i just don't feel right being as open, as honest, as i am here. that's been the cause of a lot of problems for me - i hate conflict, i just don't want to go there, so i let things fester until it all comes shooting out in some kind of terror-inducing fit (aimed internally or externally, depending on how i feel).
when we were little hellspawn children running around the gulf south, we wreaked havoc on so many poor, unsuspecting camellia bushes. we'd use the pods as ammunition. they're pretty dense, so they made excellent projectiles to wing at one another at top speed. they left little round bruises that took forever to fade. but my favorite thing to do, sitting on my back stoop, was to peel off those green guarding leaves (which would inevitably slice my hands) and sprinkle the pink and white petals-to-be all over the yard. camellias fascinated me.
but the best part about a camellia is what happens when they bloom. from that tiny little bud, all tightly packed together and wrapped in those tough little green leaves, comes this gorgeous, splashy flower. it unfurls itself like a flag, a grand, bossy banner that seems to say, "you've been missing beauty like this in your life; good thing i came along." it's a bold flower, not for the faint of heart.
a lot of times, i hide myself in a pretty thick barrier. i wrap myself in the protection of shyness, manifesting itself in quiet complacency, a go-along-to-get-along sort of carapace to minimize hassle and make sure i'm surrounded with happy people. but when i bust out of that shell, with a lot of careful tending and loving care, i shine, i flourish, i strut my stuff in every color of the rainbow. it takes work to get me there, but i make it 100% worth your while. take it in; it's beautiful to see.