Today I have made the unrequited transition from a youngster to a full-blown woman.
Certain rights of passage go unspoken by our forefathers and mothers as growth manifests in the recognition of approaching a defining moment as it is in the moment itself. Those who reared us, instilled value and stood by to help raise us up in times of darkness, acknowledge we are all tapped on the shoulder to face a moment of greatness and, when our time comes, their guidance may give us the strength to answer with grace and greatness. So here I was – alone over this long weekend facing one of these terrifying, raw, defining moments. And, alone, I stood against the right of passage I was unprepared to face.
A mf’ing bird got trapped in my garage.
Like an innocent victim in a horror movie, I was casually going out to get a diet ginger ale from the beverage fridge when I was dive bombed by a menacing squawk that sent me simultaneously screaming and tiptoeing into the house. (Ladies – why is it when something grosses/freaks us out do we tiptoe? Can I get a what what?!) It took all of 10 seconds for me to dismiss 50 years of tireless work by the women’s liberation movement and text all the men (2) that I know in the area for help. No response. I begged for help from Evan, who is in Oklahoma for work, and his reassuring guidance was “tell the bird he’s an asshole.” I knew then I was on my own.
It’s unclear what part of my hostage negotiations the guests of the neighbor’s garden party overheard that caused alarm enough for the patron males to check out the situation through the cracks in the fence, but this is likely what they saw. A young, frantic, braless, and disheveled woman in a grey tank top, daisy dukes, and floral gardening gloves wielding a large bucket and a broomstick prancing around her garage yelling at seemingly nothing. If they stood listening for long, they would have heard sorrowful pleads of “please, stop being such a f***ing asshole” or the frustrated rationalization of “I left all the doors and windows open, you don’t have to make this harder than it is” to a Tourette’s-style rant reminiscent of the 5-stages of grief:
1. Denial: “Nope. This isn’t happening. You got in here, you find your own way out. This isn’t my problem bird, it’s yours.”
2. Anger: “You’re being a dick bird! I spend nearly a decade of my life not eating your family and this is how I’m repaid?! I want to love you I really do but you are making me hate birds! Yep, I said it – I hate birds now. Are you happy?!”
3. Bargaining: “I take it back bird, I love you and I swear I can hear your family out there looking for you so if you just make this easy on me I will return you and there will be no hard feelings, okay?”
4. Depression: “This bird is going to die of panic and starvation and there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m slowly killing this bird by being a total pussy and not having the courage to just take action.” Followed by sitting on the floor feet from the bird and crying.
5. Acceptance: 10 minutes of braless circuit training and positive affirmation, I was ready.
“Yes sir, everything is fine. Just taking care of a situation in my garage – I’m sorry to interrupt.”
“Did you want me to come over and help.”
“No thanks sir. I got this.”
Like Joan of Arc readying for battle, I lowered my protective eyewear/snowboarding goggles over my eyes and compassionately lunged at the bird.
I kind of blacked out for about 10 minutes from fear, but I do remember flashes of moments where I elegantly used the broom to guide the bird into the Tupperware then slid the lid under the Tupperware then relocated the bird to the neighbor’s lawn. I know “grace and greatness” is the goal in defining moments, but I’m pretty sure I was screaming and swearing the whole time AND likely solidifying my already strong reputation as the Eagle Point Golf Course Community wildcard.
Since the time I was a little girl, I always wanted to make a difference in the world. It was the reason that I was obsessed about the feelings of my stuffed animals and that I wanted to be a psychiatrist just like my dad and why I joined the Army as a medic in 2002 and why I have been a vegetarian for 9 years and a vegan for almost 3 years. I expected to spend my Memorial Day in deep reflection for all the lives that are impacted and lost, all the sacrifices made and the love left on the battlefields so we can experience love, laughter, and freedom to express whatever we believe now. Aww yes, the freedom bird as I will now call him was an unexpected detour from this calm, reflective day – but that bird had me facing some real shit and who knew I could feel so accomplished, so proud, so much like I made a difference in action out of such an unexpected event.
That is the point of life thought isn’t it? To recognize these defining moments, to recognize that it’s not in the large acts of grandeur that make heroes out of men and women, it’s the little acts of kindness and laughter that give life it’s thrill and it’s purpose. Even after everything I’ve been through, that tiny bird had me on my knees in tears and having to dig deep for the courage to act compassionately, not literally beat the problem with a stick. I’m so grateful for the lesson freedom bird taught me today – and, yes Evan, he was also a bit of an asshole.
Happy Memorial Day to my battle buddies on all the fields of my life. Especially to you reader whose moments to read my nonsense allows me to live my dream of giving my love away in words.