This little guy wasn’t having any of it. I stood there along the side of the road, leaned forward, raised my camera, and snapped his picture. While the camera was still against my face I heard the scissor flaps of this tiny chickadees wings and saw a shadow rush toward me – first through the viewfinder.
I dropped the camera, letting is hang from my neck, and looked up in time to see him circle back and land on a tiny twig of a branch of this bush tree.
I reach for the camera again and with a whirr he flies by, just inches from my face.
There were seven birds in the tree, but only one with enough attitude to puff out his chest and gun for my face with his best “Come at Me Bro!” look of determination is his usually nervous eyes.
My presence scared him. The camera to my face, my slow motions, it was all enough to put this guy on edge. Against his better reason, he decided not sit furtively on the tree and hope I’d move along. He flew into action. He decided to protect what was his. Even if he didn’t know how I’d react.
I’ve been that bird. Well, I like to think I’ve been that bird. Feeling really small against something big, you find the courage somewhere to do something big and bold and hope that it’s enough. In our best moments we choose to act, no matter the odds, because inaction is a certain loss.
I’ve been working with a counsellor for a bit now. It’s been three years since I changed my whole life, and in a lot of ways, I’m just a toddler to this new way of living. Honesty. Accountability. Trust. Love. Self Respect. I don’t have a long history with a lot of the things that now seem incredibly important to me and that’s been overwhelming. I’ve lived with a new fear of building up a life of my own, but on a foundation that’s too weak to hold it. After two amazing years I began to fear losing the second chance I’d been given.
I still remember how it felt to be 460 pounds, isolated, alone, and hopeless. I remember it because those feelings still show up. They’re not with me every minute the way they used to be. Now they just show up, a black cloud ready to shade me through a moment of doubt. When I skip a workout, I remember . When I make a bad meal choice, I remember. When I stare at the clock at two in the morning, filled with fear and doubt, and feeling just as isolated as I did three years ago, I remember. When I find myself alone in my head, I can’t help but remember.
And then I catch my breath and remember that a lot of my bad choices were made in those dark corners, and success is accepting those feelings and fears and then still making better choices. My food issues hid in those dark corners, and they still do. My insecurities hid in those dark corners and still do.
It makes you question every reaction you have to things happening in your life, as your emotional reaction is filtered through your past and all of your experiences, but then you’re outward reaction is a strategic choice toward growth and development. It balances out the highs and the lows, but a chunk of the thrill of life is riding those highs and lows. The world becomes kind of grey and safe when you’re always trying to do what’s responsible. My fear is that predictable pattern of that life will drive me to find highs and lows – either in the ways I used to, or in entirely new self-destructive ways.
So you stop, you breathe, and you throw yourself at survival.
It’s the only way a chickadee decides to attack a guy as big as me.
We aren’t what we think. We’re what we do.