Woman Who Can’t Keep a Rock Alive Turns to Plants

Inspired by days spent scrolling Tik Tok, Gina Helm, 32, took up a few new hobbies during the great quarantine(s) of 2020 and 2021. She started with homemade sourdough bread (the starter grew mold), moved onto watercolors (stained hardwood floor), and tried at-home cardio barre (sprained glute). She was ready to give up when she scrolled past a video about crystals. 

“It felt like a real message from the Universe! At least, that’s what the crystal people would say,” says Gina, over a cup of store-bought kombucha. “I immediately placed a very expensive order from Etsy.” She twists a strand of hair around her finger and her voice quivers. “I figured it would be easy. Crystals are just pretty rocks, I thought. What could possibly go wrong?” 

Gina soon found out, however, a lot could- and would- go wrong. Her voice drops to a low whisper. “Crystals are the most demanding houseguests I’ve ever experienced. There are certain ones that just refuse to be next to each other. And then they need to be washed – or as they call it, ‘cleansed’ – constantly. And not just with water! They have to be ‘saged’ or buried alive or chanted over or left out to sleep in the full moon.” She started avoiding them. “Weeks later, I found them on the back of a shelf. They were covered in dust and dull in color. And I swear… I could feel their anger toward me. I felt like a failure, like when I was supposed to raise an egg baby in Home Ec and I sat on it that first day.” 

When asked where they are now, Gina shakes her head, then mouths “burial at sea.” She won’t give further details. 

So, what’s next for Gina?

“I’m going all-in on plants,” she says with a sheepish grin. When it’s pointed out that plants are frequently difficult to keep alive, Gina stiffens. “But on TikTok, everyone’s plants are thriving! I thought they just needed water. And maybe sun? Some of them. Wait… maybe some need shade? And I just assumed they would live in the kitchen but- do some plants need to be outside? Do they need to be fed?!” 

Her gaze drifts across the room to a grouping of plants, many of which have drooping, browning leaves. “I’m guessing this isn’t a good sign,” Gina sighs, as her eyes alight on the TikTok icon on her phone, and a lightbulb goes off in her mind. “Or maybe I’ll do something the vloggers say is super fun, easy, and glamorous: pregnancy!!!”

Susan-Kate Heaney (Los Angeles, CA) @sue_kate Susan-Kate Heaney is an actor (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, The Mindy Project, Masters of Sex), writer (multiple one-woman shows, webseries, movies) and new mom (Clover). She loves comedy and performs live often (improv, stand-up, sketch). She is the host of a podcast called "The Quirks" and spoiler alert... she has many of them. ​