The Quiet Bird

You may be thinking that my website has an interesting name. I chose it for a couple of reasons. I'm sure we all have seen Forrest Gump at some time in our life. I always loved and hated (for obvious reasons) the scene where Jenny throws rocks at her childhood home. As a child, she would chant “Please God, make me a bird so I can fly far, far away from here.” I related to her and that scene as I'm sure many people have. I too wanted to be a bird and fly away. The quiet comes from being a child and always being told to be quiet when things made me feel uncomfortable.

My mother always meant well, and I'm sure if she knew the damage it would do to me throughout the years, she wouldn't have told me to be so nice. Or, maybe not. I don't have proof of it, but I believe my mother had her own mental illness she had to deal with. I wish she could have been a stronger person herself. I have forgiven my mother because I love her and I know she just wasn't capable of being that person I needed her to be. I do feel some anger though and my therapist has told me that it was okay to feel that way. I also know my mother continually beat herself up throughout the years for not being strong enough. I love my mother and I miss her every day. She died a couple of years back from kidney cancer. This is not an attack on my mother by the way. I'm just giving some insight into how mental illness has a way of being hereditary. And the way you raise your children does affect them all throughout their life. 

     I can't remember a whole lot of my childhood. Just certain things and moments. I remember my dad and his van. My dad and mom would travel in this van with a bed in the back and when I was a baby my crib was pushed up against the front driver seats. My mom would tell me that I loved to look out on the road as they traveled. That is something that has stuck with me. I love to travel. It was the 70’s then so there were no laws about how your children were secured in the vehicle. How times change. When I got older I would notice how my dad would always sit in his van and listen to his 8-track player. I remember climbing in once and my dad introducing me to The Beatles and Yellow Submarine. My father is now gone as well and I currently have both his and my mom's ashes in my workspace. When my father died, I dedicated “All you need is love” to him.

yellow submarine

I loved my father as well but he too wasn't quite right as the saying goes. Many many times I remember my dad liking to touch my friend's breasts. It would always make me feel uncomfortable. But I was always taught to be nice and accommodating. He touched mine once that I can remember but I was told he would touch me in ways that made other people disapprove. I can only remember one instance when his brother said to him that the way he touched me wasn't appropriate. And I remember my father saying that it was just our special relationship. I don't think I fully realized that it was so wrong. My father was one of my favorite people as a child. He could do no wrong in my eyes. It wasn't until I had a new friend come over from a well-to-do type of family that I realized just how bad it was. He tried to be with her the way he was with every female. She immediately wanted to go home, of course, and she pulled me off to the side and told me that what he did wasn't right. I was 14 at the time. I remember that conversation as if it was yesterday. I instantly felt shame, and it would become a problem between myself and my dad after that. He became indifferent to me. I loved him still, but things weren't the same anymore. We slowly drifted further and further apart till the point where we didn't speak at all. Many things happened to get us to that point.

And when he went into the hospital when he was dying- I had been estranged from him for about 20 years. I don't even know if he remembered my children's names. And after all those years, I was glad that I got to spend a few hours or so with him to tell him that I loved him before he died. And as each person in my life that helped shape me into the person I am passes away, I slowly learn how to fly. And that is a beautiful thing. 

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