a story about a hummingbird #2/suffering as selfishness

I believe that pain

psychological suffering

makes me selfish

when I am actively experiencing it


Makes us



I predict

that this is going to be one of those ones that is not 


to hear

But don’t click away, for all that

don’t look



Bear with me, for a moment

I’m going to tell a story

to illustrate why I believe this

Another story about a hummingbird


Even the story may not be easy to hear

It’s not going to be easy to tell, I know that!


I spent most of yesterday, hiding in the dark of the guest house

hiding in bed

Hiding from Facebook notifications

from the unfinished blog


from the world

and from my own self


Watching, as I said

silly television


At one point, I saw something out of the corner of my eye

Darting along the curtains in my room

After a moment, I saw what it was


A tiny hummingbird

I don’t know for sure how it got in the house


I suspect that my cat, Pico

may have brought it in and then lost hold of it


But I was not quick enough

My kitten, Sisi, had it in her mouth by the time I got over there


Every time I tried to take it from her, she’d bite down harder


It was crying.


Sisi ran under the bed with it

and I hesitated


I was afraid of losing what chance I had to keep it alive, if I reached for it


and she killed it in her haste to get away from my hand


I did get it from her


and it was still alive


I wasn’t sure if it would be possible to save it, if it would live

it had been hurt quite a bit


it was a baby


it was scared



breathing rapidly


I had intended to put it in a little cage, with a small hummingbird feeder

to give it time to calm down

and to rest

and to see if it could fly, then


But because I’d also been scared

and worried


I wasn’t thinking clearly


I held it above the feeder, where there was a small amount of sugar water pooled


I kept checking to see if it was putting its beak down in the water


But, with the clarity that comes from hindsight

It may have been moving its beak toward the water

not by choice


But because of the properties of water itself

water tends to grab

and to pull

gently, yes

but this was a tired, scared and wounded baby

it may not have had the strength to resist that pull


and I don’t really know the breathing mechanism of hummingbirds


it died

in my hands


I may have drowned it


I was trying to save it, yes

But that does not reduce responsibility, in my mind


I watched more of that show with a friend last night

wanting to get some distance from the event, from the pain of knowledge of my actions

and the sadness of knowing how that little baby hummingbird’s life ended


Every time I stopped watching

I would think about that little baby

that I might have killed

whatever my intentions had been


The thing is, I had some friends passing through town last night that had asked if they could stay in a spare room

They came through late, this morning, really

They messaged me when they were on the road

happened to message me, right after the hummingbird died


I’d been expecting to have more notice of when they were coming through

(and expectations, as a concept, are gonna be a whole other series of posts!)

But that text popped up at the worst time

I told them I would message back, later

When I felt better


But I kept watching pretty late

Trying to smother those overwhelming thoughts

those overwhelming remembrances of that sad little hummingbird


And I fell asleep when the show was done

And forgot to message back

Missed their later message, probably sent when they were in town, finding another place to sleep


Whatever the cause

My psychological distress

caused me to be self-absorbed 

To not think about anyone

but me, and that hummingbird


Which is not how I like to be


Now,  I don’t believe it is possible to just

flip a switch

and turn off that kind of pain


and magically


Even knowing the kinds of effects it has on my behavior


But I do believe

That it would perhaps have been healthier

and better for me, and my visiting friends

though much more uncomfortable, for me, at the time


If I had just looked that pain in the face

last night


If I had been strong enough

to realize what was happening

as it happened

And strong enough to tell myself not to just shut it off


To find a way, maybe by writing about it, then

But a way to channel it into something




I am writing this for myself

publicly, in case anyone else might benefit from hearing it

but with the goal

of working through these thoughts


So that the next time I feel like I need to hide from some kind of hurt

I might remember the consequences of being so selfish

and so immature


and the benefits of being strong enough

to face even my pain

and my suffering


in the interest of building a better world

by building a better Brooke


I spent three years living on the street in Los Angeles. I came out of that, changed. This is my story.

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