I feel myself wanting to cry when I spy this broken bird on the footpath. It was windy last night and she must have fallen from the date palm above me.
It doesn’t matter to me what species the bird was, or if in fact it is a pest. I still feel myself wanting to cry because a Mummy Bird no longer has a hungry mouth to feed.
A mother no longer has her baby.
I feel myself wanting to cry because this little bird didn’t get a shot at life.
Just like all the other stillborn, human babies who didn’t get a shot at their first earth-side breath.
I feel their mother’s pain in my heart and the ache in her empty arms.
I also feel myself wanting to cry for all the other times I didn’t let myself cry.
All the times that as a child, my mother chastised my sister and I for being weak: “Stop crying – you’re just trying to manipulate your father!”
All the times now as an adult, I feel like crying when I visit my father’s secure dementia unit and I see how broken he is. And the smell of urine makes me gag.
Look, it’s not that I’m physically incapable of crying – at least daily, I’ll feel the hot pinpricks behind my eyes, the choking lump in my throat, the wave of empathy…
But it lasts just a few seconds. 20 at the most. That is all, before my staunch masculine side shuts it down.
In march my Storm Troopers to control the flood that’s rushing up my chest and threatening to spill out in the tears, the runaway snot and the broken gasping breaths.
My Storm Troopers are so efficient that when the occasion legitimately calls for it, I don’t know how to cry.
And just like a volcano with a lid on it, the pressure builds and builds, and then it releases all by itself.
You better believe it – the fireworks that follow are much uglier than soft, feminine tears.
Twice a month I am incapacitated with a migraine and I can no longer care for myself or my family.
When the vomiting eventually starts, I lose my precious control and the sobs take me over. Tears splash into the toilet bowl with my vomit and diarrhea and I start to shake.
I climb into bed in a fetus position and I shake it all out.
Then I pass out.
I wake up an hour or so later, head to the bathroom to squirt diarrhea into the bowl, vomit, cry and shake.
Rinse and repeat.
3 days later, I’m lighter, clear-headed, vulnerable and stronger.
But 14 days of Tear Policing later, I do the same broken process all over again. Because I don’t know how to unlearn Not Crying.
I look at the broken bird and see the ants scouting her body and the maggots that have already started to claim her.
I know that I can’t help her now – for fuck’s sake, I can’t even cry for her.
But there is one thing I can do.
I pick some flowers.
I thank her for the gift of her tiny life and what she’s shown me.
And I bury her in my little garden.
Rest in Peace Broken Bird. Please know, that even for just one moment, you were loved.
I need to hear more stories about strong women leading beauty-filled and spiritual lives, and so I created Empress Crow and Rabbit. It’s a forum to showcase the inspirational stories of women in uniquely feminine careers. It's also a bridge between what we think we know and what we feel is right. Thank you for joining me – let’s all learn, grow and celebrate the feminine together.
Photo credit: Lucy Spartalis