Columbia Road Flower Market

Whenever things don’t go to plan, my default mode is to overcompensate. I remember when I would lose out on an opportunity in the past or find myself clashing with someone I cared about, I’d always punish or blame myself.

One of my coping mechanisms was the long, meandering walk. Back when I was living in East London, I would make it a habit to walk down Columbia Road Flower Market every Sunday, stopping to appreciate the tropical colours and the atlas of accents from traders and tourists. Suddenly, I’d be out of my head and travelling around the world lost in different jungles.

I hadn’t walked down that street in years. Something about these uncertain times, in a period of history where we are taking it day by day every goddamn day, made me desperate to tread where I had once been, as well as to find solace and escapism in the simple beauty of petals and citrus.

Walking down this market street, I ruminate on what ‘self care’ really is. I finally know what ‘self care’ isn't : hiding yourself away in bed in the name of healing. But I have found good signposts in getting the basics right - eating well, sleeping well and exercising. One dear friend told me that she buys herself flowers every week as her form of self care - and I fell in love with this idea. For the past two months I have been buying myself flowers, usually Roses, apt for an old romantic fool like me, and putting them on my bedside table. When I wake up, I am reminded that even during these dark times and periods of global chaos, we are still allowed to have beautiful things and to enjoy things just because they are beautiful.