“Be a bird. Be free. Don’t you be a bumble bee cause then you’d be too busy for me.”
I wrote this song as a five-year-old who loved dirt and sticks; whose imagination was bigger than the giant metal slide on the playground across the street from our trailer or the big girl bed in our first house-without-wheels. I wore a fountain of white curls on the top of my head and cared very little about impressing anyone but myself. I had no idea back then that these words would resurface in therapy as an adult and that I would be the one that needed to hear them.
“How does it feel to relive that moment?” my therapist gently prodded.
“Like I am trapped. And suffocating,” I said – gasping for both air and sanity – as countless memories of decisions that I made over the years flooded over me. I felt like the air around me was thinning; like I was trapped in a cage. Not free, not certain, just there.
I always loved nature. It was wild and unruly. I felt like we were kindred back then; but now it is better than me, something to be admired. I am even afraid of birds now. They are too free.
“Take a deep breath.”
“We need to identify a resource to help you work through these feelings. Maybe there is an adult version of you that you like; that you think is strong.”
No. Not strong. Dependable, yeah. Good, absolutely. But not strong.
The strongest version of myself that I can muster is the five-year-old playing in the dirt, writing songs about being carefree. I like that version of me – the one who knows what she wants and who she is; who needs only her imagination as a companion. She is unhindered by obligation and her cage door is unhinged. She drinks chocolate milk out of a wine glass because she wants to be fancy but thinks chocolate is delicious. She uses a night light because she isn’t afraid to say she’s afraid. She is wild and unruly. She is a bird, unhinged.
And her words are in my head these days as a reminder.
Be a bird. Be free. Don’t you be a bumble bee cause then you’d be too busy for me.
The girl with a fountain on her head is still inside of me. I just have to unhinge the door and let her be free.