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

Selfish.

 

I predict

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

easy

to hear

But don’t click away, for all that

don’t look

away

 

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

missed

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

 

I did get it from her

eventually

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

and

it was a baby

 

it was scared

hurt

panicked

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

instantly

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

else

 

So

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

brooke

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

Leave a Reply