Back in the spring of 2009, I started being attracted to cherry blossoms. First, I thought they were just pretty pink flowers; then I began to think that maybe God was up to something, trying to tell me something.
Back then, as the cherry trees started blooming, I started thinking that maybe their blossoms would make a good logo, or theme, for my business. They would sure be pretty enough!
Knowing that cherry blossoms were used frequently in Chinese and Japanese art, I figured that there would be some symbolism attached to the delicate blossoms. What I found was really interesting — and totally perfect as a symbol for what I do: helping women with fibromyalgia find hope and freedom!
Cherry blossom symbolism
As I did my research, I discovered that in Japanese culture, the cherry blossom is a symbol of feminine beauty, just as in Chinese culture. From that point on, however, the symbolism was completely different in the two cultures.
In Japan, they view the cherry blossom as a delicate symbol, as the blossoms themselves are delicate. In fact, they symbolize the transience of life. Fallen cherry blossoms indicate a life cut short; blossoms fallen on snow indicate a samurai warrior specifically, whose life was cut down in battle. Due to the short blooming season of the cherry trees, there is also an element in the symbolism of, “This too shall pass.”
In China, the cherry blossom is a symbol of feminine beauty and strength. I even read in one place that it can symbolize feminine dominance! It is definitely a symbol of power.
Making it my own
The more research I did, the more excited I got. I knew that I wanted to use cherry blossoms here, on my website, and in my logo. I also knew that I had to have my dad, Wayne Bricco, a pen and ink artist, draw me a cherry blossom picture I could use for my note cards. That’s the picture he drew for me, Promise of Hope, above. You can check out his website at AcrewoodArt.com.
How cherry blossoms relate to fibromyalgia
Putting together all I learned, here’s what the cherry blossoms symbolize to me, as a woman who has learned how to live well with fibromyalgia:
When I was suffering from fibromyalgia, especially back in 2008 when I filed for Social Security Disability, I truly felt like my life had been cut short. I felt like the “real me” was dying inside the prison of my fibromyalgia body.
I felt like my body was falling apart, fragile. Even now, I sometimes feel like my continuing health is held in a delicate balance. My husband, Scott, even calls me, “delicate and sensitive.” Although, the healthier I get, the less often he says that!
When I would have a particularly bad fibro flare, I used to get through it by remembering that, “This too shall pass.” I would do my best to remember that what I was experiencing was out of the ordinary and would practice my pain and stress management techniques to help bring things back under control again. Now that I have more good days than bad, I can say that the whole season of daily pain and fatigue has passed. I’m now in a new season of growing health.
One of the things that has helped me the most in my healing journey has been learning that I am beautiful, just as I am. My husband taught me how beautiful I am when I was at my sickest, hardly able to function, and weighed a lot more than I wanted to. In the midst of all my comments of “I’m so fat!”, Scott thought I was the hottest woman he’d ever seen. I tried explaining to him that he was mistaken, but he insisted that he wasn’t. It wasn’t easy, but eventually I believed him!
Once I believed I was beautiful, I also started to believe that my body was worth treating with kindness. That changed my attitude from a victim mentality, “God, why did you give me this defective body,” to one of power. I started to realize that the choices I made had a direct impact on how I felt. Things like getting enough sleep and feeding my body good food.
As I started making better choices and treating my body with more kindness and respect, I started getting my health back. I literally gained more physical power and grew less delicate. You might say I went from a Japanese cherry blossom to a Chinese cherry blossom!
A promise of hope
My dad’s art business is a family affair, and we call my mom The Namer; she’s the one who names the drawings. She titled my cherry blossoms Promise of Hope because of my mission: bringing hope and freedom to women with fibromyalgia, who are tired of being held prisoner in their own bodies.
Those little buds of cherry blossoms are like the buds of hope that that were in my heart when I was sick. I didn’t necessarily have hope just yet, but there was a promise of hope. There’s a promise of hope for you too!
“Promise of Hope” by Wayne Bricco © Acrewood Art 2011, all rights reserved. Used by permission. Photo of Tami and Scott taken by Steve Harmon © SJ Harmon Photography 2006, all rights reserved. Used by permission.