I wanted to write my second post on a slightly lighter topic than my first, so I thought this would be a great chance to explain why forget-me-nots are featured throughout my blog and are my profile pictures. Here is my definitive answer to why I love forget-me-nots.
Although I was christened in the Church of Ireland and went to Christian primary schools, the Church didn’t play much of a role in my family. I was too young to realise it at the time, but as is common in many Irish families, I was baptised merely out of convention. Faith was not something I really questioned, it was something that teachers in school told me to have, so I did. However, I started to question things as I grew older and I became an atheist when I was around thirteen. But I still had a lingering fascination with spirtuality and how it can help people. Although my beliefs were clear to me, I still missed that sense of spirituality I had grown up with in school.
Like many children, I used to spend my Saturday mornings in front of the telly, waiting for my mum to wake up and start the day. There were a wide variety of shows to watch, everything from Handy Manny to Dora the Explorer. One show, Fifi and the Flower Tots on Nick Jr, was a particular favourite of mine. It followed Fifi, an anthropomorphic forget-me-not and her fellow flower friends. Whenever Fifi inevitably forgot something, a character would say “Fifi Forget-Me-Not forgot!” Looking back, I can easily imagine it as one of the shows where a lot LSD was involved in its conception. However for me, a ‘girly’ girl, this show about talking flowers was wonderful. Mum bought me a Fifi doll, that I became very fond of and took everywhere. When I discovered that forget-me-nots were real flowers you could find in gardens I lost my mind! I still have this vague memory of some sort of garden party where once I discovered some forget-me-nots behind a shed, I didn’t talk to anyone and instead spent my time admiring the pretty little flowers.
As I grew older, I began to reject some stereotypically ‘girly’ things I had loved as a child. I was learning about Feminism and was keen to embrace it. I stopped liking the colour pink and instead began to love the colour blue, which my six-year-old self would have called “a boy’s colour.” It was my way of showing the world I was growing up. Yet I still loved dresses and skirts and ‘girly’ clothing. Wearing a blue dress was a way for me to hold on to my natural feminity and let go of gender stereotypes children are forced to follow. Baby-blue forget-me-nots were perfect for this and they allowed me to hold on to my happy childhood memories. A few years later, I discovered that my birth stone is a blue sapphire, much to my delight. I also discovered my birth flower was a forget-me-not and I was over the moon. I am aware of the concept of a coincidence, but this coincidence felt special: a flower that I had loved for so long, through various difficult changes in my life, was in fact my birth flower, something that represents a part of me. There was something wonderful about that.
A traditional atheist would say, that all of this is just mere coincidence and means nothing. The logical part of my brain believes that. But there is another part, an illogical part, which craves that sense of spirituality, my atheist beliefs have denied me. This illogical part of my brain has invented its own sense of spiritual beliefs. It has decided that my love of forget-me-nots and the fact they are my birth flower, was a coincidence so special it must be lucky. Now whenever I see forget-me-nots, I have convinced myself something good is going to happen to me. I understand that this is not necessarily true, but it is a small, harmless thought that keeps me going. I don’t believe in God but I believe spirituality is natural for most humans. Even if you don’t believe in a higher power, you need to believe in something. Most atheists would say they believe in humanity. I certainly do, but I would also say that I believe in forget-me-nots.