How creating structure allows this wild thing to grow
My kind of cage
I can’t recall where I first heard the idea that you can raise a child in the same way you can grow tomatoes within a wire cage, but I liked it immediately. Tomatoes love a good cage. Wire, wood, bamboo – they'll be happy with anything that provides good structure and support to leaf out and burst forth in a mad bramble of foliage and fruit. The cylindrical tomato cage with its wide-meshed sides and breezy open space allows for upward and outward mobility and full, steady growth while bolstering the spine of the plant, allowing it to focus on leaf production, flower development and the manufacture of juicy red orbs. The structure of the tomato cage provides necessary support for the growing plant but doesn't box it in. Quite the contrary, it keeps the plant from sagging and breaking, dragging and rotting.
As a rather feral creature I do well within a loose, semi-permeable structural and porous perimeter. Without it, I flail and my creativity and productivity, like an un-caged tomato plant sags, breaks, drags and rots. However, when enclosed within the shrinking walls of too much structure I feel trapped and cornered, eagle-eyeing holes in the fence where I can make my escape and run wild once again. As an adult, I’m learning to erect an airy edifice for myself, one that gently holds me, like a hand-caught bird, more cupped than squeezed. One with windows enough that I can lean my elbows upon a ledge to gaze out, but through which I can scramble down the trellis wall to run around beneath the moon if I so desire. I do well within the confines of a safe haven to which I can always return, but with a swinging door, never seeking to entrap me within.
Professional structure and harvesting fruit
For me, professionally, structure looks like scheduled things… Spanish class twice a week, yoga on Thursdays, recurring calls with clients on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, a Skype with my mentor on Tuesdays, arising at 7am, in bed by 11pm and setting the alarm to sit and write and work for an hour at a time, an hour at a time and an hour at a time. Within the liberal freedom of a cylindrical mesh cage my metaphorical tomato plant inches ever upward and in the space between the wires I surf, dance and drink wine with friends. I live and enjoy the bright red fruits of my labor as they ripen and grow plump.
What structures help you thrive?
How much do you need to grow, to flourish and to bear fruit?