In The Phaedrus by Plato in a dialogue between Socrates and Phaedrus we find the famous quote “Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.” Plato’s meaning probably relates more to deception than anything, but I think it also applies in the idea that we need to take a closer look at everything worthwhile and not rely on first appearances - if we take the time to look deeper, the rewards are great.
I experienced such a reward in researching the Wallflower flower when I kept running into Wallflower people meanings which inspired me to include the people aspect to my blog post. Some of us are interested in flowers and their meanings, but most of us are most curious about people and how we relate to each other because it’s about US! And, of course, there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m happy to say, I found Wallflowers, both flowers and people, to be mysterious and beautiful especially as you take a look up close.
(Speaking of looking close, I want to thank David Kennard for giving me permission to use his Agean Wallflower Close Up photograph for this post. Click here to go to his website for more beautiful photographs!)
Here’s what Wikipedia says about Wallflower People: “In social situations, a wallflower is a shy or unpopular individual who doesn’t socialize or participate in activities at social events. He or she may have other talents but usually does not express them in the presence of other individuals. The term comes from the image of a person isolating themselves from areas of social activities at ballroom dances and parties, where the people who did not wish to dance (or had no partner) remained close to the walls of the dance hall.”
The Urban Dictionary gives us a variety of definitions of wallflower people that I found interesting. I like this one posted by a guy named Rod because he actually defines the flower too and the history of the word wallflower:
“Perennial plant native to southern Europe, bearing fragrant yellow and orange flowers. The name is derived from the fact that the plant, when naturalized to a region, is often found growing out of the nooks and crannies in an old wall, or a cliff. The natural tendency for this plant to separate itself from the other denizens of a formal garden, and grow in isolated locations, doubtless led to the use of the term “wallflower” to describe an anti-social, or shy individual, who lingers in the background, against the wall, as it were, at social occasions.”
Turning to the actual Wallflower flower, I found its meaning is given in 2 places:
Victoria’s Dictionary of Flowers on page 318 in Vanessa Diffenbaugh’s book The Language of Flowers, and on a website called www.languageofflowers.com. Here, Wall-flower is listed as “Fidelity in adversity” - which seems in harmony with the character of the wallflower people definitions. So, if you have a wallflower friend, rejoice! He or she is the type who will stay with you in the difficult times in life! How can we not appreciate the beauty of that?
Speaking of Wallflower friends, here is a sweet song about a Wallflower person by Blue Note artist, Priscilla Ahn, describing what it feels like to be a wallflower reaching out to another wallflower. This song is what first peaked my interest in including the Wallflower in the FLOWER SONGS category of my blog. Another reason I found myself intrigued is I can identify with the feelings of shyness Wallflower people experience since I was shy as a child. Even though I grew out of that shyness, the shy inner child still resides and I often have to work through feelings of hesitancy in being noticed, whether it be in performing music or being singled out in a group. Hmmmm, once a Wallflower always a wallflower at heart - but I guess that isn’t such a bad thing according to my findings on the internet!