When was the last time you found the perfect apple in the bag. You know the one I mean, that bright red skin, not a blemish on it. No soft spots or brown corners it even smells like a dream. You can’t wait to bite into it. Taste that sweet goodness on the tip of your tongue and dance that little jig we all do when the first bite of something is everything we imagine it will be. Knowing that the juice will splash around to the back of your tongue and then dip forward for just a second to see the smile it gave you before sliding down and bringing equal amounts of goodness to the rest of your body. So you dive in, take the bite and suddenly your mouth is full of bitterness.
So what causes an otherwise divine fruit to be bitter? The primary reason given is often that the fruit has not been allowed to ripen properly. As fruit ripens the amount of sugar it contains increases which then increases its overall sweetness. Ripening is a complicated process that is controlled by hormones that interact with the growing environment and other natural occurring events to create the sweetness in the fruit. Ripening is dependent on the chemical process and also on timing. The right amount of time necessary for each piece of fruit differs as does the effect of various environments. Some grow best if housed in a closed-in shelter while many need to be in as much sunlight as possible. There are still others that need to be held up their entire lives, either growing along sturdy walls or the foundations created to act as supports by loving caretakers. If any part of this process is interrupted it can interrupt the maturing process of the fruit including stunting its growth and causing the fruit to be bitter, even if on the outside the fruit appears to be perfect in every way.
Consider that, women too, are a divine fruit. And just like fruit there is a process and a time for maturing. A time when the conditions of environment and interaction with others causes a maturing of the inner woman. Given the right amount of time, love, protection and care taking a woman grows to become a refreshing, palatable, nourishing being. One that is sought after for both the comfort she lends and the health she promotes in those whom she impacts. A maturing that begins slowly, heightens to near perfection, decreases a bit but continues throughout her life. Not every womans maturing time is the same nor does it ever really end completely. The amount of sweet goodness ebbs and flows determined by the conditions encountered by this precious creation.
Unlike fresh fruit however, much of a womans maturing is within her own control. And for each of us there comes a time in our maturing and development when we are one hundred percent responsible for the effect that ripening has on us. Either consciously or unconsciously we decide if we will be sweet to the taste or twisted and inedible to those we attempt to be nourished by us.
We often miss the first sign that we are in control of our own flavor, particularly if there is not a fully matured, incredibly sweet woman available to nurture our growth. Fruit begets the same fruit so a bitter apple is hard pressed to give sweet fruit from its tree. That first sign almost always comes in the form of an unrequited, unimaginable, never gonna love this way again why is that white horse trampling on my roses kinda romance. It is in that moment we decide we are not princesses, there are no Prince Charmings and horses can be very scary when too close to your heart. So instead of ensuring the lighting is right to better nurture our fruit, we often add shutters to keep out the pruning that is so necessary to grow sweet, health fruit.
In that moment we relinquish our control. Sometimes to a man, sometimes to an image of beauty, and sometimes we just relinquish and give up. Being more willing to allow our fruit vines and trees to be covered over than to risk being hurt again. We begin to become bitter. We call course, harsh speeches independence, unattractive, aggressive attitudes strength. These are not the characteristics any of us wanted. We wanted to be independent with a purpose, strong with a direction. We wanted to share in that secret something special, that sly glance that passed between lovers when they thought we weren’t watching, that elusive feeling of safety when hang gliding, the trust that the pruner of our leaves is also the lover of our fruit.
But I venture to say that it is never too late to save our fruit. Much like we continue to water, to feed, to talk to, to coax our vines to produce ruby-red berries and our trees to smile the sweet smile of blooming blood oranges so to can we sweeten our inner woman. It is never to late to nurture her. It is never to late to tell her how beautiful she is. It is never to late to stop begging strangers to tend to our gardens. After all, no one wants to be bitter fruit.