Pictured above is a méihuā (mei - hua) - which is commonly known as a Plum Blossom. The tree originated in China and is known to produce beautiful, white and blush-hued flowers along with sweet, plum fruit that ripens upon the arrival of spring. In Asian culture, the Plum Blossom Tree is cherished for its vibrant colors, rich fragrance, and ethereal presentation - but its true significance is way more beloved than the fruit it may bear.

The Plum Blossom is one of the most unique blooming flowers in China. While most flowers bloom in the fullness of spring, this flower thrives in the frigid winter. As the snow falls and the air gets colder, this tree flourishes with colorful petals amidst inharmonious conditions.

Culturally, the Plum Blossom signifies perseverance, hope, strength, resilience, and beauty - which is a very moving concept. Interestingly enough, this concept made me think of the late bloomer - the individual whose potential isn't unveiled until later in life.

Since I could remember, I've always been a late bloomer. I got my driver's license four years past 16, my first boyfriend was well-within my twenties and I was one of the last in my friend group to reach certain adult milestones.

It's not that I lacked drive either - as a young and impressionable, Lu - I can remember planning out my idealized life. After High School, I had set plans for myself to graduate college, instantly become a Psychologist, marry the closest version of Michael Ealy I could find and move to Canada with "bae" and the kids (girl, bye!)

Meanwhile, years down the line, I hadn't accomplished any of those grandiose goals that I set for myself. But as I looked around, it seemed like everyone was flourishing in their love-lives, careers and womanhood - and I was just dull and dormant. Whenever I would catch up with girlfriends for dinner, I had no big news or exciting updates to rave about. So, for a while, I just settled for living vicariously through others, in hopes that my life would eventually become that fulfilling.

Being a step or so behind everyone else - I was still trying to become comfortable with who I was, figure out who I wanted to be and do whatever was necessary to become her. I went through years of jumping hurdles in my career, awkward relationships and school hopping in an effort to blossom into the best me that I could be - and it was such a rough, lonely process.

branch blossom winter plant leaf flower petal spring red botany pink flora season cherry blossom twig macro photography flowering plant plant stem land plant

The older I became, (slowly but surely) I started to make some strides, but there was still something inside of me that felt like it (or I?) wasn't enough. I felt like a failure because I wasn't moving at the same pace as everyone else, even though I was trying my hardest to.

I honestly can't tell you what turn of events handed me rose-colored glasses, but all at once, I began to consciously view myself in a different light. I did this by ridding myself of all of the unmerited expectations that I was holding myself accountable for. It was then that I discovered that I was enough.

I found love for who I was, respect for who I was becoming and hope for who I'll be in the future. At that point, I wasn't necessarily where I wanted to be in life - but I was headed there. I didn't have all of the answers, but I knew that I would eventually find them and I had fallen down many times, but I got my ass right back up!

That was the process and growth that I was yearning for all along - and it came years later. As hard as I had tried to forge the quintessential version of myself, it wasn't my time to bloom. My path was different and my growth required a little more time to produce the most vibrant, beautiful, rare aspects that make me who I am. As the Plum Blossom thrives in the icy winter, I too, flourished during the coldest, harshest moments of my life. I made the choice to push through the bitter conditions and unveil my authentic self in the purest of times.

The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.

To all of my fellow late bloomers out there, trust your timing. Bloom in the way that only you can. Such as the Plum Blossom, thrive through tough times and dark hours - it will define your strength, resilience, and beauty. Before you know it, you will bloom into your full and perfect splendor.

Thanks for reading loves,


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