“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked.
“I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
A fig tree project is an idea.
On my own path to self-determination, I’ve stumbled and floundered indecisively. I have felt the pressure of needing to determine where my life was going to go and the fact that I can’t live multiple lives at once. In appropriating this metaphor from a famous literary passage, I’ve taken the idea of being at a difficult crossroads in one’s life and transformed it into an empowering tool for myself. I’ve decided that I get to have all the figs.
A fig tree project is ongoing.
Over and over again, we must affirm who we truly are. Throughout my life, my own desires and who I am at my core have frequently diverged from who I must be for the outside world. Every time this is being called into question, I only ever arrive at the same answer: Why relinquish one for the other?
I am a writer. Most of the world, I’ve discovered, has no clue what this means, and I have embodied those expectations willingly and sufficiently. But with this project, in this world I create, I am the writer that I want to be.
A fig tree project is a refusal to let go of the person you always wanted to be. It can be a creative outlet or an alter ego. It is a mindset. Above all, a fig tree project is a reminder that not all dreams are doomed to shrivel and fall like unpicked fruit to the ground.
This is mine.