art by Pia Guerra

I was never any good at giving gifts because I thought I was giving functional gifts but these people wanted something else.

Take for example, one of my dearest friends, Ibrahim has moved to a new apartment and this means to me that I must honor his home with a gift.

My choice?

A potted plant. A gift he continually rejects and condemns every time I remind him that I will be showing up at his front door with a plant in my hand.

Why did I choose a plant?

Not only because it is affordable, and aesthetically pleasing but also having a plant teaches us responsibility for another living being. I would know. I have two, Poppy and Funtua. For me to be able to consistently admire these creatures with their funny-looking flowers I have to care for them. I sustain them by making sure that whenever I am near them I treat them gently with attention to their needs. And for these reasons, I offered a plant as a gift to Ibrahim with the hope that as he takes the time to nurture his plant with warmth, attention and care, he would learn lessons on tenderness, responsibility and about himself which he will in turn apply to his human relationships.

It sounds a little unrealistic and wishful, doesn’t it? How can caring for a plant improve your interpersonal relationships? It might not, but going to a doctor and/or a therapist would.

What if we gave our friends such considerate gifts? Maybe not a potted plant but something that tells them that you do not just want them to be there for you when you need a shoulder to cry on, a drinking buddy, a sex partner, a work colleague but someone whose well-being we are genuinely concerned about. In some way, nurturing them like you would a potted plant.

Think about it? Medical bills paid without insurance are expensive these days, and we all need to get checked out regularly but some of us do not go because we cannot afford it or we do not want to acknowledge that we are not okay.

But if you got it as a gift from a dear friend, would you not give it a shot?

It should not be a strange thing for us to look out for those that we claim to love. Not by making sure that they are “having a good time” when we are with them but also making sure that when they say that they are not sleeping well, it is one of the consequences of adulting and not because they are traumatized or severely depressed.

Thinking of a gift? for your friend with me.

:)

musings of a 29 year old woman living and working in Lagos, Nigeria.

musings of a 29 year old woman living and working in Lagos, Nigeria.