The Renegade Press

Tales from the mouth of a wolf

Imagine that you are standing before a rose garden. In front of you a series of stems rise from the earth and reach towards the heavens above. Some are tall; some short.  Some are straighter than others, and a select few carry more thorns than the rest. Their petals are in various stages of bloom too. Whereas some are wrapped up tightly in sepals, others have opened and allowed their oils to warm in the sun, emitting a fragrance that smells divine.

Imagine kicking off your shoes and stepping into garden. If you have a partner, or a child, or just a friend that you wish to take with you, then grab their hand and ask them to follow. Feel the dirt between your toes, and the heavenly scent on your tastebuds as you carefully weave your way through the maze of stems and thorns. Now imagine finding the perfect rose; a flower so striking that you sink to your knees and stare at its beauty. Its blood red petals are fanned wide to soak up the sun; it’s tantalising scent is unlike anything you have ever smelled before.

To the left of this perfect rose is a smaller flower; not quite in bloom. To the right of it stands a withered flower with petals falling towards the soil below. As you shift your gaze from left to right, you can’t help but feel as though the perfect rose in the middle is made even more magical by the two surrounding it. It’s as though you’re seeing it at the pinnacle of its existence. Had you arrived a day earlier, it may have looked more like the flower to the left. Had you of arrived a day later, it may have begun to wilt and die.

Alright. Enough with the visuals. You’re probably wondering why I’m asking you to conjure up images of blood red roses and soil shifting between your toes. It’s a new year; the fifth in the history of this site, and the angry boy who started blogging is now a grown man with a deep love of analogies and flowers (one needs to only click back through previous posts to find countless images and references to roses, peonies, etc.), and for the first time in my life I feel as though I understand what it means to be in bloom.

Yep. You heard that right. The writer who has spent years calling himself a wolf and tearing apart anything in his wake just mixed things up and labelled himself as a flower. Confused? Well, I can explain. But first we need to go backwards so that we can then go forwards…

rose-garden

Every year between Christmas and New Year a group of friends and I return to our home town and host an annual cricket tournament. The event has been running for over a decade, with two teams of twenty men chosen based on the suburbs we lived in as children. In our younger years, the tournament was merely a way to bring together friends that had been separated by time, geography and walks of life. But nowadays both teams have lost members to mental illness and suicide, and the day is used as a means of touching base and talking openly about issues in our lives that we may never have been brave enough to discuss in our youth.

At the 2016 event, I found myself standing alone with a friend when he looked at me and asked me about a few of the darker days that I have faced in recent months. We talked openly for a while about loss, change, and what it is that we value in life. I told him that I had shed a lot of tears in previous months; but that I was happy, I just wished I hadn’t had to lose so much in order to find myself. When I finished speaking he smiled at me and said:

“I’m proud of you Chris. You’ve been through some shit. And a lot of your friends have worried about you over the years. But we love you. You’re family.  And it’s good to finally see you coming into yourself.”

“Thanks,” I said, feeling my heart break at the realisation that I had been so lost in life that my friends had been concerned. “I guess that sometimes we just need to go through a little bit of shit before we can grow.”

In the days since the event I have replayed the conversation over inside my head on numerous occassions, casting a look back at the evolution of who I am, and the metamorphosis that has taken place inside of my heart and mind. As a boy I was fuelled by anger, a fear of death, and a deep jealousy of anyone who achieved more than I did. I wanted to pen a best seller and become the greatest writer of my generation so badly that I turned myself into a horribly bitter person in my quest to succeed. I worried my family, bared my fangs, said terrible things about others, and lost my own happiness and smile.

But as a man I have learned that just because someone else is achieving, it doesn’t mean that I can’t; or won’t. I have learned that anger and jealousy breed anxiety and depression, and that neither I, or anyone else is defined by their faults and failures. We are however, defined by our friends and family, and the impact that we have on the lives of those around us. Our successes are measured not through making a best sellers list, or through earning a million dollars. They’re measured through the smiles we leave on the faces of strangers and those we care about.

Sometimes we just need to go through a little bit of shit before we can grow…

And we grow at different rates. We bloom in different seasons. And some of us experience more shit in our lives than the people around us. But just because that perfect flower in the rose garden isn’t you today, it doesn’t mean that it won’t be you tomorrow. Life isn’t a race. No one is born as a rose in full bloom; and every flower is as unique as our fingerprints, or a snowflake. We grow in the dirt and we’re shaped by the unique realities and experiences of our lives as we reach towards the heavens above, making us perfectly imperfect and beautiful in our own idiosyncratic ways. We shouldn’t compare ourselves to anyone but ourselves, because no one else has experienced the world as we have.

Sometimes it can be easy to focus on the negatives in our lives. For me it would be easy to fall into my old thought patterns and to say that after a decade of writing I’m still not the best seller that I thought I would be. Or that I became so bitter that I drove away the love of my life and lost a publishing deal. But for every darker experience that I have lived through, feeling as though life was pushing me into the dirt, I have also had some amazing moments of sunshine. I published a book at the age of twenty-six; I fell in love with a beautiful woman who made me genuinely happy, and who I was ready to give my life to; and I still have a family that supports me, and loves me unconditionally. Together that combination of soil and sunlight, along with a little rain has allowed me to grow, and will continue to do so for as long as I live.

I am still waiting for my moment to come into bloom and flower into the best version of Chris Nicholas that I can possibly be. And even though I have been fortunate enough to watch so many people around me blossom, the time just hasn’t been right for me to do so just yet. But it will come. Each of us will eventually become the most beautiful flower in the rose garden; sometimes it just takes longer than we anticipate for us to bloom. But just because you aren’t that breathtakingly beautiful flower today, or just because you’re going through some shit; it doesn’t mean that you can’t, or won’t bloom brighter than ever tomorrow.

If you ever feel as though you’re not the person you thought you would be, or that life has pushed you down into the dirt. Just remember that you’re not alone; you’re with me, and millions of other people across the globe. Our time to be in bloom will come. And when yours arrives I promise that you will be breathtaking in your beauty, and that you will blossom into someone so incredible that your friends and family will fall in love with you all over again. Sometimes we just need to go through a little bit of shit before we can grow. And sometimes we just need to take a deep breath and remember that one day we will blossom. One day it’ll be our turn to be in bloom.

90 thoughts on “In Bloom

  1. Your writing is inspirational and easy to grasp, which makes it very appealing to the reader. Hope and pray all your ambitions will blossom in this new year. Wishing you the very best.

  2. Louise says:

    This is so beautifully written Chris- and resonates very strongly with me. I had a very difficult year in 2016, and it certainly didn’t end the way I had expected to, or hoped, at all. In 2016 I also lost the person I had expected to spend the rest of my life with, and the reasons for that, whilst not all faults of my own, were very hard and bitter pills to swallow. Your words serve as a reminder that one day, it won’t always be like this- that we should not compare our own lives to that of others that on the outside seem to have it all- to stay strong, to not give up on yourself, and make every moment in the relativity short time we have on this earth, count. It is sometimes very hard to live in the moment and try not to wonder when that next shoe to grind you down just that little bit further into the dirt will rear its head- but it is just so important as you never know when your life will irrevocably change.

  3. Miriam says:

    What a beautiful piece of writing that I think we can all relate to. None of us are perfect, all of us have gone through immeasurable amounts of shit and we’re all trying to find the best version of ourselves, growing through all of our experiences. Loved your post Chris and I wish you all the very best in this new year.

  4. ToadieOdie says:

    Maybe it would also help people to know that roses bloom on a cycle. They don’t simply bloom once and then die. Eventually they bloom again after a period of rest. People do the same. They bloom, and rest, and bloom again. This is the purpose of seasons in nature. And we do the same.

    The cycle of seasons for personal development is a different speed for each person but it still exists. And there is a separate cycle, if you pay attention, for each relationship we have as well. I also suspect the same can be said of our creativity. I wonder how many other cycles exist in our lives that function within this “bloom, rest, bloom” metaphor if we paid attention and gave it thought?

  5. Margaret Baker says:

    This relates to something I have struggled with all my life. A feeling of inferiority because I constantly compared myself with more gifted sisters. Only when, one long, dark, sleepless night, I acknowledged the roots of my jealousy did the negative feelings vanish. The roots were untangled and I have blossomed. Thank you Chris for your beautiful writing and insightful advice. I wish you a great 2017!

  6. Chris, your post today has hit home for me and I am sure for many other writers. The shit that you speak of was probably just fertilizer, which of course smells like shit and does contains shit but it is something the soil needs for the flowers to grow and flourish. The shit or as I prefer to call it fertilizer helps the flower to burst through the dark murky soil into the sunlight. Only then will its true beauty be realized. It doesn’t matter what kind of flower because all flowers are beautiful and bring joy to the world. I like to think of myself as a perennial blooming and growing larger and more beautiful year after year. Well done. :o)

  7. Jane Sturgeon says:

    Keep growing my lovely, for you bloom with beauty. ❤

  8. Chris- I think that one of the most important lessons I needed to learn this past year was that I needed– to try at least– to fall back in love with life and with myself. The rest, I think, does naturally follow. Thank you as always for so poignantly and openly sharing your journey through the darkness. Resurrecting ourselves is sometimes something we need to do more than once over a lifetime but it always reveals something essential, something stripped own and true about ourselves that we didn’t know or that we had forgotten.

  9. maureenrose7 says:

    This is all so beautiful Chris!! beauty beyond words for me!

  10. myalivelife101 says:

    This really made me smile. 🙂

  11. Love this! U actually made me tear up! Thanks for writing it!

  12. emariemon says:

    I can see how you truly have bloomed this year and these inspirational words are a beautiful reminder of why we all need to love ourselves and know that things will one day all work out fine.

  13. inesbeatrice says:

    Thank you for this post, Chris. I have to admit there’s been quite a bit of darkness this past year (or two) in my life and I’ve allowed it to hold me back, to keep me in a hibernation of sorts. When I look around at my friends I sometimes feel like the odd one out– like I’m somehow the child in a group of adults and I don’t belong. They’ve never said anything to that effect and they’re always there for me, I know, but my mind can be very persuasive and make me believe things that might not be true. I’ve done my best to convince myself of exactly the sort of thing you’re discussing here, but I sometimes doubt myself even in this– that it’s some sort of rationalization that cuts me unnecessary slack. Hearing this again from someone else (and having it visualized so beautifully in your image) makes it a little easier to believe again and gives me hope. Thank you for providing a bit of hope to a stranger across the ocean. I appreciate it. 🙂 I hope 2017 is full of sunshine for you so you can bloom as you wish to.

  14. Akaluv says:

    This was beautifully written. And sadly, for me, I have a firm belief that since I didn’t accomplish anything when I was younger, I’ll never accomplish anything later. I have given up on my life and dreams. However, it’s nice to see someone inspiring others =)

  15. kristelis says:

    I couldn’t read this and not take the time to comment. I couldn’t read this and not say thank you for these words. I wonder if you’re aware of the effect your writing has on people. Just so, I want to say this piece is astounding.

  16. Your writing is beautiful, and you have a style that attracts readers from all walks of life, regardless of what topic you bring to the table. Another great post with a wonderful message. Keep it up and never stop growing, living, and learning. Thank you for liking one of my posts back in the day, otherwise, I may never have had the opportunity to visit your site and read your work. All the best to you in this upcoming year and beyond.

  17. All so true, Chris. I am glad you are in the process of finding and developing yourself and will be a beautiful bloom at some point!

  18. Sheila Moss says:

    Nice analogy between life and a rose garden. Sometimes I’m so tired of blooming that a little time for wilting isn’t so bad.

  19. That was the best new year message I read so far, Beautiful, just Beautiful!

  20. Daria Kill says:

    Reblogged this on Let me give YOU the Moe-down and commented:
    Sometimes we need to go through a little bit of shit before we can grow …

  21. gpj103 says:

    That is wonderfully written. Thank you and happy new year to you.

  22. lotteopena says:

    NOW, it’s your turn. 🙂

  23. Lovely post! Beautiful 😊😊

  24. Anne J. says:

    This is such a beautiful post, Chris! Tears almost escaped my eyes. You are so right; it is so true – we all have our time to bloom. And having witnessed you in the last few months through your writing, I’m really happy to read this. And, it’s definitely helping me in my own quest to figure out my place in this world, no matter how late it may seem.
    I would like to re-blog this so I hope you don’t mind.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us; for sharing you.
    Have a blessed 2017! May it be more amazing and greater than you can imagine now.

    1. Thank you Anne! That’s unbelievably sweet of you. The last few months were incredibly tough. My heart fractured in a way that I never thought possible when Sofie and I split up and I’ve had to learn who I am all over again.
      I know that a lot of people have worried about me; but even in my lowest moments I’ve been fortunate enough to learn from my situation and grow. One day I’ll get a chance to blossom. Until then I’ve still had some great moments of sunshine. I found a beautiful girl that I love so much I’d marry in a heart beat. Not everyone can say that at 28 years of age. And maybe that’s enough for now.
      I’ve been talking to my Mum a lot lately and she tells me everything happens for a reason. And she’s right. I had to lose a lot to realise that I was heading down a horrible path. But if I hadn’t of lost I may never have been found. I know that if I ever meet Sofie again I’ll sweep her off of her feet. And even if I don’t get that chance; I can still say that she changed my life and I’ll love her forever for doing that.

      1. Anne J. says:

        You have been lucky indeed. And your mum is a wise woman. You’ve been blessed immensely, and that is even though Sofie left. Was it Shakespeare who said it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all? And who knows what the future holds. Despite the challenges life gives us, it also surprises us a lot – good and not-so-good. In short, your time to blossom is coming… when you are ready. You’ve grown a lot, having read all your posts (I’m sure..) since I started following your blog. You are an amazing writer. And you can have everything that you want when you can handle having all of it at once. 🙂 Hugs to you.

  25. Anne J. says:

    Reblogged this on I think, I say, I do and commented:
    This is too beautiful to not share, and I’m not waiting another second to share this amazing message. And it’s wonderfully written, as can be expected from Chris.

    Chris, I hope you don’t mind me re-blogging this. Thank you again for sharing this with us.

  26. The most beautiful post I have read in a long time, very touching, it brought tears to my eyes and yes it totally resonates with me. Thank you for this lovely piece, I really enjoyed and think I will read again and again.

  27. As someone who has struggled with some of the same things that you struggle with, I really needed this today. Thank you for this post man.

  28. Bloomsbury43 says:

    Hi Chris
    Love your thoughts. Moving – echos my sentiments.
    Looking forward to reading more.

  29. eapuleo says:

    This is a beautiful and honest post! It resonates with me so much. You are such a talented writer and I look forward to reading every one of your posts.

  30. You know, a little bit of shit is generally good for flowers. Glad you gained some perspective. I’ve been waiting a long time to finally bloom, too. You’re right. The time is coming. And it will be made all the more beautiful by the experiences we’ve had while getting there.

  31. Thanks for sharing your story. Life can feel shitty at times with no light or hope visible in the distance. i lost a very dear and loving cousin of mine who unfortunately couldn’t take the atrocities of life anymore. Wish he had talked to someone about it. It’s hard to remain positive when you’re going through shit. but glad you hung in there and didnt give up. so much to learn about life from nature. BTW, in case you don’t tell yourself this, let me tell you… you’ve already blossomed into a very beautiful version of Chris. We are ever evolving and ever changing… give yourself credit for having come a long way from the angry wolf that you used to be. May peace be with you

  32. That was beautifully articulated and written. I believe that message can resonate with everyone in some shape or form. Thank you for sharing.

  33. Didn’t get it, my comment added or no…most irritating thing when u have to write ur comment again and again 😬😂

  34. Daal says:

    well done! I believe that its not so much that things happen to us for a reason, as much as what matters is that we make something good of the events that happen to us. happy 2017 🙂

  35. Efe Koomson says:

    Hey Chris, this is an inspirational piece of writing. Thanks for liking my post aswell ! 🙂

  36. Coral Waight says:

    Lovely thoughts. Sounds like you’re blooming already.

  37. randyjw says:

    Hi, Chris! That good guy has been there all along. It’s nice that you can see him, too. Thanks for being such a loyal and ong-time supporter. That means much to me, and is a good, kind trait to keep you in good stead in the future. You’re a really wonderful writer. Good luck, ahead, and happy new year to you!

  38. Chronomatis says:

    Hello. Thank you for stopping by my blog. I really like this post of yours. It’s very inspiring and motivated. I feel touched a great deal when reading this. Keep up the good work. I’m looking forward for more. 🙂

  39. S.Nyambura says:

    So inspirational and beautifully done.
    I can relate to the tough year I had last year and hoping for the best this year. Have a fabulous 2017!!

    https://snyambura.com/

  40. Really enjoyed this post. Sends a good message to people who may feel lost or are losing hope.

  41. Shit makes great fertilizer.

  42. The way I see it Chris, my perception if you will, is that you have been in full bloom for years. I see you as the most colourful, proud, flower of them all. One who deep down…knows who he is. One who influences, touches and amazes those who walk past him. One with the softest of perfect petals, yet so real and so raw and so natural and so vulnerable, that he is easily broken; and ironically because of this, he is alive. Alive and well and insightful and beautifully emotional and expressive. A standout, in what has become such a plastic world.

  43. alannapass says:

    The blossom is just one part of the plant. It is ephemeral. As a gardener I cherish the entire plant, not just the flower. Sometimes I pick a plant just for the pretty foliage or colorful structure. One of the greatest achievments is learning to love yourself where your at. Acceptance will bring you peace. As a 60 something woman I have struggled, loved & lost deeply. I have reached big goals & then found emptiness. Now I find contentment in the unexpected & the journey of everyday. John Lennon once said “It’s better to travel hopefully than to arrive.” I wish you well.

  44. Short Little Rebel says:

    Hi Chris, you know? I started my blog from the start with the expectation to refuse any financial gain. Isn’t that weird? I did that because my blog is an experiment. I want to prove the existence of God through my blog. Basically, I figured that if I, an ordinary Christian woman living an ordinary life, simply told the full truth of my life, the good, bad and ugly of it from a Christ centered point of view, that it would become evident that God had transformed me over the years in a way that nothing else could have. And thus, if he works in my life, by extension, he works in every life- and thus, he EXISTS. If I should take any kind of money for my work- even in the form of advertisements on my blog, selling tee-shirts or cups with my pen name (think Chicks on the Right), how could anyone trust in the genuineness of my thoughts or writing? A couple of my articles have gone viral which led to radio and t.v. stations asking for interviews- but I never responded- for the same reason. We have a mission and we must stick to it. Otherwise, our work is garbage, right?

    I guess what I want to say, as a fellow writer, is that perhaps it is best if you just put that ‘end goal’ away. Forget about it completely and just enjoy the writing itself. You need a higher purpose. Serve mankind with your writing- help people BE better than they are. You have something that no one in this world has. What is it? Think upon that and then, give it to them selflessly! I think you will love your writing much more if you do. Without any pressure to make money from my writing, I find that my passion for topic is so much greater! I truly want to help people understand Christ and the Life he has to offer. It directs my style, my word choice and subject matter. My goal is beyond myself. Indeed, it is my goal that may even result in a book someday. But if your goal is the book instead of the service to mankind, then I think it is backward. It might even lead you to bitterness and the blank, brick wall. I truly believe that success derives from the passion itself. LOVE what you are doing. BELIEVE in what you are doing first. Write for a purpose and your path to a book will become clear.

    Just a thought. Much love and hearty best wishes for your writing in 2017!

  45. Short Little Rebel says:

    oops, Chris, correct that for me, will you? I meant, “I started my blog with the expectation to refuse…”

  46. jochlagrange says:

    Chris I enjoyed reading this and thanks for coming to my blog and saying that you liked it. I haven’t even blogged for a year and am finding how much I enjoy writing. I love the beauty around me and love to walk and take photos. You are fortunate you still have your Mum. I miss mine a lot she passed away just over a year ago.

  47. Moony says:

    This post actually really spoke to me. For some time I found myself struggling with frustration from a lack of validation, as well as questioning my own abilities after having some university applications rejected. This post made me think about looking deeper into myself, and finding solace in how we will all eventually find our own path. Thank you for another inspiring post 🙂

  48. Beautifully written, Chris. The analogy of blooming with all its elements and struggle was so real and moving. I was most touched by something you said so similar to my own blog thought today “I just wished I hadn’t had to lose so much in order to find myself.” We shouldn’t need grief to repurpose ourselves or to find our true selves but sometimes it’s the vehicle that comes into our lives. Losing my husband was devastating to be sure but I’m finding myself in the ashes and that, too, is all part of life. Keep writing!

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