There Was a Bird in My House

By Kayla O’Brien

No, this is not a dirty euphemism (get your head out of the gutter, people) nor is it hypothetical or fictitious. This is a true story.

This afternoon, I walked into the sunroom, and was greeted by my little sister saying, nonchalantly, “There’s a bird in the house.” She says this nonchalantly because this isn’t the first OR the second time this has happened. In fact, it’s actually not at all surprising to me, and I welcome any visiting woodland creatures into my home with open arms. And by open arms, I mean, flailing “please just fly out the door because I’m panicking that my dog is going to eat you and I’m also deathly afraid of being pooped on, but I love you so don’t take it personally!” I digress.

Approximately 38 seconds later, my dad, mom, little sister, and I are all trying to gently, but persuasively (and admittedly, slightly aggressively) coax this beautiful, red, male cardinal through the WIDE OPEN door only maybe five feet away. Meanwhile he just keeps running into the window. My heart and head hurt for him.

Then, Mr. House Intruder flies toward the door — at this point my little sister is under the table, protecting herself from potential bird “droppings” — and I’m thinking, “the opening is RIGHT THERE, you are now TWO FEET away from FREEDOM, come the hell on.” Instead of making his prison break, he lands on top of the door. Basically outside. I swear he looked directly at me, stared into my soul, and looked to be thinking to himself, “hmmm it’s actually kind of nice in here and you featherless two-legged creatures seem pretty cool.” He must have then rationalized, in the little bird brain of his, that home is outside of this potentially safe environment. Where he thrives, truly, is beyond my sunroom.

Within 3 seconds he flew away, probably terrified, and in need of a therapy session ASAP.

Cardinal
Photo courtesy of Daune O’Brien (Note: this is not Mr. House Intruder; this is his cousin, Carl, pictured earlier this year)

This is how recovery is for me at times. Maybe this is also how recovery, at times, is for you.  

Sometimes I get trapped in a place that is unknown, scary.

I know where to go, I know what doors to fly through, so to speak. However, in the midst of fear, sometimes the answers aren’t simple.

Sometimes the doors look further away than they actually are, and sometimes people have to gently or persuasively guide me (with flailing arms or not, I will not say).

Sometimes, I will refuse to make my own prison break.  At times, sickness seems appealing, because it looks safe.

In those moments though, I remember. I remember to tell myself we are creating a new normal, and need to fly back home.

To myself.

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