Botanophobia

: the fear of plants.

Truly, there’s a phobia for anything. I half-have it: house plants freak me out. By which I mean, plants in the house. In summer, I grow herbs and lettuce and sometimes flowers on my balcony. I’m fine with them there, love them, even.

Thai basil for green and yellow curries.
Greek basil for watermelon salad, flatbread pizzas, and salads.
Coriander, because of the number of recipes I make that call for it.
Chives, because it’s spring, and will soon be summer, and I will chop it with scissors onto everything.
Spearmint, for mojitos, squeezed and stirred fresh on hot days.

But something about having these things in my personal inside space terrifies me. I used to have houseplants, until I was twenty-six and realized they gave me anxiety to the point of losing sleep, and the only reason I kept them was because it is a thing people “do”. The day I threw them all into garbage—pots and all—was liberating, a reminder that I could do anything, make any life I wanted, independently of convention, habit, or expectation.

Maybe that’s what the nightmares had been about. I do not miss them.

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