Make Me A Bird…

“Dear God, make me a bird,

So I can fly far,

Far, far away from here”

I remember feeling just like just like little Jenny did in Forrest Gump – always sending out prayers – or I would be writing in diaries, or making deals with God or the universe at large, or blowing on each dandelion I’d come across – desperately hoping that my wish would come true.  That this would all end.  That she would love me.  That she would notice me – see me as more than just the burden she viewed through her hate-fogged lens.

I am still that girl.  I will see her today at the cemetery and I will be chanting this to myself.  “…Make me a bird, so I can fly far, far far away from here…”

It’s all I ever wanted.

And I got it – I flew away, made my own nest, brought my own little baby birds into the world and mended their broken wings, and am teaching them to fly.  I am doing this without a manual – without a guide or any memory of how this is supposed to be done – because I had no example that I would be willing or able to follow.  I have had to throw away anything I learned in that house for fear of infecting my children with the same sense of inferiority, insecurity, self-loathing, and fear that I was brought up on as part of my daily diet.  Along with my Cheerios and peanut butter sandwiches, I had to choke down insults and rants and declarations that I deserved this isolation that was bestowed upon me along with the resulting loneliness.

But for years, I bought in.  I believed every word of it, that she knew better, that she was “doing this because {she} loved me”.  And that is a powerful and manipulative web to untangle yourself from.  It makes you unsure of what love is, and what hate is, and whether it’s natural that they seemed to overlap like some sort of emotional Venn diagram.

I know now that it is not.

And so nothing feels natural to me.  It is all brand new.  They are all unchartered waters.  And I am a weak swimmer.

And I will be forced to stand near her again.  To fear that her tentacles will reach me.  That I will be caught in her web.  To have to listen to her take a sacred and solemn occasion about someone else and make it about herself, yet again. It it always about her. There will be plenty of faux wavering-voice melodrama and crying – though she never manages to produce tears.  And I will be nauseous and I will shake and I will squeeze my husband’s hand tightly.  And I will look around at all of the people that enable her – the people that knew what she did, what she’s capable of, and that chose to protect themselves instead of me for all of those years.  Because it is easier, because they don’t want to suffer her wrath as they have discussed with me many times – in emails and Facebook messages and phone calls.  “Don’t tell your mother about this, but…”

And I will go home and I will hug my children, and tell them that I love them unconditionally – which is a word that they do not yet understand on a cognitive level, but I desperately hope they already know in an emotional sense.  And part of that kind of love is protecting your children whenever you can, and I know that I am doing that by keeping them away from that black hole.

I only wish that someone could shield me now.  From having to be in that kind of physical proximity today, and from having to go back there emotionally as I write this book going forward – as I revisit these fears and wounds and moments.

Will bringing it all back somehow allow me to let go of the past?

I know that I need to stop allowing the fear and resentment of my childhood to hold me back – that I need to stop looking over my shoulder at the past as I attempt to fly if I will ever have a chance to break free and soar into the brighter future that is hopefully waiting for me.

I will start with today, with the words of Annie Lennox on my mind – instead of Jenny’s…

They always said that you knew best
But this little bird’s fallen out of that nest now
I’ve got a feeling that it might have been blessed
So I’ve just got to put these wings to test.

Comments

  1. findingninee says

    This is amazingly powerful. I’m so glad that you wrote these words and shared them with us. And that you have found a way to make your own nest – one built with unconditional love for your beautiful baby birds.
    Visiting from Love that Max.

  2. says

    Oh my goodness…my heart hurts reading this. Have you sought out a support group for people with narcissistic parents? I know there’s actually a subreddit (on reddit.com) for this, but you might benefit from an actual live support group, kind of like AlAnon. So sorry you had to go through all of this. NO child should have to feel like a burden to her parents.

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