I WONDER WHAT MY MONSTERA THINKS OF ME
HOW TO BE POROUS
The other morning, moving the monstera up onto the highest ledge in the house, I wondered what it thought of me. Heavy in it’s large green pot, I was climbing up the step ladder, letting the leaves lean against me, when I suddenly became very aware of our touching. Our proximity no longer distant but entangled. The monstera caressed at my face and my nose nuzzled back. I think that’s when we both blushed.
I became really shy as I placed it gently—maybe more so than often—onto the platform. Asking aloud, is this an okay spot for you? Are you catching enough light here? It looked happy in its new position, unfurling in its way, making this new space its home with a stretch and a slouchy yawn. I untangled some of the vines that were hanging so that they might feel independently free from one another, and caught myself flushed once again. Blushing—rosy—at my tending to the plant with love. Wondering, what do you think of me?
I can see the monstera from the living room, from the back alcove of the house, through the kitchen window, and as I return to and leave my home from the front door’s vantage. It sees as much of me as I see it, and it would be ridiculous of me to think that it isn’t wondering of me as I am toward it. So, what is it learning from me? What has it seen of me that has remained pertinent to its memory? How does it remedy watching my sporadicalness, when they—themselves—are pleasantly still; only swaying with the breeze that I seem to monitor with my opening and closing of the windows? Do they think of me a God, indicative of my watering and tending? Or an unsustainable and untethered Fool, as I introduce more disposable junk to our home with each time I return? Do they have ideals of how they want to live? How they’d like to live? How do they wish to be presented? Should I introduce them to friends? What would they like to be called? What is their preferred pronouns? Do they prefer their water hot than cold? How intimate are we to become across borders of the ecological and the human? Can we, are we, meeting in a liminal space?
Unrestricted of this separation, yet not without the knowing that I might—at least not in this life—be able to communicate through conversational means with my new friend the monstera, I resort to answering the questions I can. What am I learning from my—the—monstera? It tells me, don’t be afraid to reach in multiple directions at once, lean—where you can—against a supportive system that highlights your desire to live fuller, and most importantly, let yourself be porous.
The monstera in my home has seen that not all the leaves I create myself are tended to with care. Sometimes, the fruits of my labour aren’t fully realised—presenting holes—yet the outside vantage manages to maintain a certain form that is both flawed in all its perfection. Those people I have in my life—surrounding me, as I surround my monstera—seem to be infatuated with how the little holes got there in the first place? How I have produced these little pockets, sometimes unable to be filled, and what those might mean comparatively to the structures around me? Which isn’t exactly how I wish to look at my holes, the lens feels fixed on the whole—rather than looking intimately at the liminal space of the whole hole.
I come to think, how has the monstera managed to create little voids that do not disturb the eloquent form of each leaf? Maybe, the only answer is magic. Or, maybe, practice. Or maybe the monstera isn’t bluffing. Maybe the monstera is communicating through those little holes, revelling in what we believe to be failures, when really the holes are spaces to marvel. Through ways, porous caverns, that let the monstera become more relational to its surrounds than we could ever imagine.
Maybe the monstera sees my holes and that’s why we’re both blushing. Maybe we’ve become so entangled, through our empty spaces, that a kinship full of little portals has been created. I think we like one another, in this way, with all our openings. Maybe to grow holes you need to be willing to let them go unfilled.
And maybe, what I have learnt most, is that I am allowed to grow with empty spaces too. I’m allowed to be porous. I’m allowed to carve out spaces within myself to be prodded and poked as their purpose.
Should we compare holes in our leaves, or is that too porous right now?