Spring in Confidence: A Dogwood Flower Story

pink dogwood flowers

Once in a while, to put that lightly, I fall into a well of despair and wallow in self pity, whether it’s about my appearances, my art, my business, my social life, and so on. I can’t help it. I’m always so hard on myself despite being so laid back about everything else.

I’m a walking oxymoron.

pink dogwood flowers
Pink dogwood flowers. That yellow background is actually a green tree drenched in the ray of the afternoon sun. Pretty, ain’t it?


Lately it’s been one of those episodes. I’d been unhappy about my body. My shoulders are no longer toned, they’re soft and shapeless like pancake, I felt like I gained weight (whether it’s factual or not that’s besides the point ~ human psychology is weird), and I hated my double chin (that’s barely there). Wednesday morning (read: past noon), I decided to start doing push ups and light weight lifting again at home with Netflix running in the background. I felt a little bit of positive outlook started creeping inside of me. A few hours later, I decided to take a walk outside. It’s spring after all, time for me to photograph the spring flowers in the neighborhood. Late afternoon is the best time to do it as the sun radiates a soft glow.


pink dogwood flowers
These flowers are dancing together in the wind.


It was a little chilly that day. The cool breeze made me think of changing my shorts to longer pants but I powered through (because… laziness). I walked on the sidewalk to the nearest dogwood tree and started to snap some shots. Christening my new Canon Rebel T6i, if you will, with Canon EFS 55-250 lens attached, familiarizing myself with its foreign settings. It’s so different than my trusted Olympus E-PL 3 that’s almost permanently attached to my 60mm 2.8 macro lens that I’ve been using for the last 3 years. “I got this,” I told myself. I hopped on the next dogwood tree and the next one after that across the street.

Like a bee looking for honey.

Four or five flower trees later, I stopped at a corner of street a couple blocks away from my house. There it was, this lovely dogwood tree situated at the outside corner of a front yard at the end of the street. Its branches are hanging low near the ground and full of pink blossoms: it was photogenic! The branches were moving slowly with the wind. I snapped several pictures of the buds from many angles. It was a different experience than shooting with my dedicated macro lens. I was able to get a broader range of clusters as it’s a zoom lens, not a close up one.


pink dogwood flowers
These ruffles are pretty glorious.


“Damn, I need to come to Quincy more often!”

Then came this gentleman, riding on his motorized wheelchair unassumingly down the quiet street. He was dark skinned, average build, dressed quite nicely, a little on the hip side in his set of trainers and a black satin jacket with red lines running down the sleeves. He wore a hip hop cap, the kind Pharrell Williams wears on his head. Though his hair was short and a bit pepper-ish, he didn’t look old. My guess is he was in his 40s. He was seemingly out there to enjoy the nice weather. As his ride was leisurely approaching, our gaze met. Naturally (because that’s what good people do), we said hi and waved to each other. He seemed friendly.

He looked at me and immediately took a liking on me. He told me in excitement with his raspy voice,

“Girl, you need to be in front of that camera! You’re beautiful!”

“Damn, I need to come to Quincy more often!” 

He proclaimed with a wide smile on his face. I thanked him and giggled hearing his remarks and continue taking pictures thinking that was the end of it. He proceeds with

“That’s a fine piece of —“

(I didn’t actually hear it as it was quite windy that evening and we’re about 10-15 ft apart but if I could take a guess…).

“Do you want me to take your picture?”

He offers as his hands gestured to take a picture. I broke a smile shyly and said that I’m fine and he mutters something that I didn’t quite get (his throaty voice could be hard to hear in the wind) then again quite loudly shouted out

“Damn, I need to come to Quincy more often!” 

Followed with a little chuckle as he moved his motorized wheelchair around.

“Is that dogwood tree over there?”

He wondered as he turned left at the corner. I said,

“Yeah, I think so.”

He asked about what kind of pictures did I take. I told him I take pictures of flowers. He then put his right hand on his heart followed with a sigh… 

“Ah, just a girl after my heart. That’s the way to go, man! That’s the way to go…” 

With his left hand pointing at me. And then proclaimed this line once again,

“Damn, I need to come to Quincy more often…”

We both shared another laughter as he slowly drove away. About 20-30 ft later he stopped, looked back, and shouted

Do you wanna take a selfie?!” 

He asked with a friendly smile. I laughed and waved my hand goodbye.

He shouted “Take care!” and I reciprocated.


pink dogwood flowers
Backlit pink dogwood flowers.


What in the world just happened?

From that conversation you’d imagine I was dressed to impress. His comments may be a little objectifying but he didn’t come off as creepy or stalker-ish to me. His friendly compliments made me feel like he was talking to a supermodel or even Beyonce.

But I was the opposite. I didn’t have any make up on, my hair was rather oily and flat. My face was unwashed, I hadn’t showered (though I remembered to put on some deodorant before I left the house ~ phew). My roots are long as I hadn’t re-bleached my hair in almost 6 months. The part where it’s bleached, my funky hair color had faded to the max, it was no longer blue, it was faded green. Furthermore, I wore a mushroom patterned army green racerback pajama top with plain shorts of a similar color, topped with an old soft pink and navy blue hooded Nike running jacket that used to belong to my sister with a pair of classic Crocs on my feet. I wasn’t exactly peacocking, I didn’t fluff and strut my feathers trying to get anyone’s attention, much less expecting anyone to notice me like that.


pink dogwood flower
The alpha dog(wood) is commanding a choir.


Still in awe and under euphoria, I quickly ran back to the house to tell my husband all about it and he was like,

“See, baby, I tell you that all the time but you never believed me…”

We joked that if I was born in the US he’d be my 20th boyfriend instead of my alpha and omega.

So what exactly did they see that I don’t? How is that to a stranger and to my husband I’m beautiful just the way I am but I can’t see it? Beats me. Maybe my husband was right. Maybe I was born in the wrong country. This gentleman I met made me believe had I moved to the US when I was a teenager, I would have been scouted and be the world’s first 5’2″ supermodel you’d see my face plastered on billboards everywhere promoting beauty products. One can dream, right? LOL.


pink dogwood flowers
The happy family.


I’ve felt blessed for that little rendezvous. The universe was trying to spring a little confidence in me, yet again, as I forget about it every so often, that…

I Am Enough!

Thank you, random stranger, whoever and wherever you are! I wish I took your pictures to remember you by. I tread a little lighter. At least for now..


orange tulip
Sometimes I just have to remind myself that… I AM ENOUGH.





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Kharisma Sommers

Kharisma Sommers

When I'm not working on improving my metalsmithing skills, I like to take macro photos of flowers (but only when the weather is warm because I'm picky like that). I spend my days watching funny animal videos on Facebook and/or glued on Netflix. It's hard to imagine that I won awards for my jewelry if you judge me by my silly pajamas.

I wanna know... What are you thinking? Tell me what's on you mind...

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