Reflections – The great tits

The past few weeks there’s been these two little birdies that have been driving me crazy. CRAZY I tell you!
Great tits, actually (yes. I giggled). Throughout the ENTIRE day – these two bastards LAUNCH themselves at my french doors. PECK at my french doors. Flap their wings, stomp their feet, thomp their bodies against my back door.

The constant thud, splat, flutter concerto is enormously annoying when I’m sitting at my table only a meter away, trying to work, or on my couch, trying to watch something on the tv. They’re not out to vex me, perse, I’ve gather so far. They’re also NOT desperately trying to become human and move into my house either. And, as it turns out, it’s not gruesome (yet failed) suicidal tendencies either. Pfew.

Nope – dear readers.
These two teeny tiny bastards are apparently fiercely territorial AND fiercely stupid little tits. Ain’t nothing great about them. Because with the rise of the wintery sun, the reflection in my windows is just so that they perceive their mirror images as actual competitors and a MUST KILL TARGET. Which they very vigourously (and constantly) attempt. I’d almost feel sorry for them, but I feel more sorry for me.

Yet, as aggravating as they are, this morning I got a little bit sentimental (as we hormonal, fickle, womanly creatures tend to do) about those poor tits. The birds. Not mine.

The past century there’s been a whole lot of research into this exact type of self-awareness in animals. Into their failure to grasp that a reflection in a mirror is them. That it belongs to them as much as their actual body does. A mirror test was designed to put this to the test, and most animals (save some exceptions) cannot grasp the concept of mirrors. To them, the reflection is another one of their kind – never themselves. Which can lead to hilarious scenes like puppies trying to befriend a mirror-puppy, or apes going apeshit at a rival.

Now, the psychology behind those tests, and the implications of the results – however interesting – are not really what made me a bit teary-eyed. It wasn’t the great tit’s brave attempts at protecting his home and household either, mind you. But the concept of mirrors and reflections? That got me going.

It’s no secret that these past few months, I’ve not been feeling myself. There’s definitely been occasions where I’ve literally remarked no longer recognising myself in the mirror, much like all of these poor animals, who cannot reconcile that image with their own inner being. It’s a weird thing, to feel like that, to say the least. It’s a way of being out of touch that is very hard on a soul, and very difficult to work through, as I’ve found out. When you don’t feel like yourself – it’s impossible for anything else around you to feel ‘right’ as well. You can’t be whole if you can’t even begin to see yourself as such in something as simple as a mirror.

And that’s where I suddenly saw the similarities between me and these birds.

At times, I have had that same inexplicable urge to lash out at a mirror that was only showing me a truth I didn’t want to recognize. A face I didn’t want to be mine. With puffy eyes, and reddened cheeks. With tears and a sadness in the depths of a gaze that I didn’t want to feel. New lines I didn’t want to accept. I felt how the corners of a mouth no longer curled up in a smile I used to have. And hated the new arch of my brows. I was angry at that reflection. Angry at what had become my own worst enemy. Angry at myself for being like this, for allowing myself to become like this and even angrier for being unable to change anything about it all at the same time.

And there’s also been times where I feared the image before me. Feared who I’d spent a year trying to become, only to completely lose touch with who it was I’d turned in to. Feared all of the work I put into what I thought was personal growth, but turned out to be a forced persona and fragile facade that couldn’t possibly be kept up because it just…didn’t…fit. Feared how it was at my own hands that I’d transformed into something I very thoroughly didn’t want to be.

Feared how I could have such power over something so fundamentally important to myself, and so little knowledge on how to wield it. Because what if I DID try to change, again? Who’s to say the results would be better? And what if going back wasn’t an option either? The fear at what felt so inevitably ‘wrong’ was real.

Mirrors reflected that unease to me ever since the breakup. Made the wrongness oh so visible. Showed me the cracks and highlighted the mask that I thought had become my face. Was my face. Should be my face. But never was. And well, lets just say I haven’t been looking in a lot of mirrors since that time. Vanity out the door, which, I suppose, could also be a good thing.


Fight or flight – the two standard animalistic responses when confronted with something unpleasant. Both of which I’ve felt and acted upon, much like those great tits assaulting my windows. The thing is, though, that, UNLIKE those tits – I, as a human, DO have the power of self-awareness. And with that the power of reasoning and the capacity of change. And even though the last year was hard as balls, change DOES happen.

And it happens fast.

Because I no longer find myself battling my reflection now that I’ve FIRMLY closed the doors that led to past mistakes, and opened a few promising new ones that are bringing about changes that I DO welcome. Changes back to the core of myself, in full acceptance of the me that I am. Towards a reflection that I can recognize and cherish. Instead of battle an unbeatable reflection until I get a headache. Like those idiot birds.

New horizons baby. Now, here’s hoping that I don’t rush towards a shiny paradise ahead, only to find out it’s a mirror reflecting back the past right when I bang facefirst into it at full speed. But hey. We’re supposed to recognize mirrors, right? I say IT’S ON!

18 thoughts on “Reflections – The great tits

  1. So much here that I can relate to, dear Zoe. A hell of a lot of pain, but also self-awareness, and the beginnings of a recovery.

    Did you ever finish my book, A Young Geek’s Tale? If so, you might remember my description of how my breakup with “Charlotte” totally destroyed my sense of self. And it took me many years to rebuild my ideas of who I was, who I wanted to be. And learn to accept myself, including flaws.

    A few years ago, after my most serious drugs binge and subsequent hospitalisation, I remember asking my mother-in-law, “Am I just an asshole?” I was trying to work out why I would put her and my wife through so much pain. Was I really depressed? Or was I just using that as an excuse to be reckless and selfish with my drug abuse?

    Discovering who you really are inside, and learning to love yourself – this is one of the most difficult inner journeys anyone can undertake. It takes vulnerability, self-awareness and deep honesty. And that journey is often full of dead ends and flying into french doors. But the journey also helps cultivate a kind of self-compassion too.

    I can also relate to the frustrations causd by misguided attempts at self-help. There’s a lot of unhelpful BS in that industry… and as I bought book after book trying to “fix” myself, I put myself through a lot of pain.

    And then a few years ago, a friend (who was also depressed) said to me, “I’m finding that self-acceptance is more important than self-development.”

    That statement really stuck with me. At first it seemed totally alien – I didn’t like myself, so of course I needed to improve. How could I accept myself when I was so broken?!

    But, over a long period of time, I eventually learned to implement this wisdom in my life. Slowly but surely, I’ve learned to like (and then love) myself, as I truly am.

    I believe this inner acceptance has to come *first*. Then any other changes and improvements happen almost without trying.

    Lovely to hear you starting to like yourself more, and learn from those glass-induced headaches!

    Sending hugs x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The (A) ‘Thing’ About ‘Birds’ Yes Is They Have Wings
    They Don’t Have to Be Birds Flying is Enough Now

    The Thing About me i Don’t Have to Be ‘A Dancer’
    or A ‘Singer’ i have Steps i Have Voice All i Have

    To Do Is Dance And Sing Free

    Poet What the Hell Is That

    i Write i like to Write

    it Feels Good to

    Do This So i Do

    It Seems to me the ‘Original

    Sin is Nouns’ And Not Enough Verb

    iS A Wave Water or Ocean Does ‘IT’ Even ‘Matter’

    What Will Happen to A Most Beautiful Bird if they

    Finally See Their Reflection in a Pond Get Lost

    In Their Beauty And Never Fly again…

    Isn’t This What

    Happens to

    Some Humans

    When They ‘Fall’ In Love

    If They Keep ‘Falling’ Will They

    Ever Truly Fly Free Again It Seems

    to me the Answer Is Do Fly Or Whatever

    You do Fly Higher And Stop Falling Into the Pond….

    Not Unlike You i am A Bird Who Sees His Reflection

    Just A Common Winged Deficit Among Humans Look

    Around See Where

    It Has Gotten

    Us so Far

    Where Do the

    Roads Go Most to Fly or Not…

    Like

  3. I most certainly get the negative relationship with mirrors. I’ve been avoiding them like the plague the last couple of years, and when I couldn’t avoid them, I used them very superficially – I just look long enough to see whether my hair is okay or needs a comb or a wash, not a second longer than necessary…

    Like

  4. For ‘starters’: beautifully written. Touching, deeply touching. Powerful and ‘open’ at the same time. Respect.

    Mirrors …

    I every now and then compare these moments in life when one ‘thing’ ends and another journey begins as a passage through a broken mirror: you can’t mend it, you can never again see in it what you used to see, what you (thought you) liked about the time the mirror reflected what you thought your life comprised. Once broken there’s no way back. In shatters. And when you step through this broken mirror and let the pieces behind you, accept that you will never ever be able to see and embrace the image you ‘embraced’ before: it was (partially) an illusion.

    Accept it. Learn from it.
    For myself: I’ve come to terms with the idea of never being able (or even wanting) to return (‘back’) through this mirror I’ve left behind, because I’m certain I could not possibly experience the same feelings as before even if the mirror would reflect the exact same image I used to be so fond Off. The difference is there and can‘t be ‘unseen.’

    Liked by 1 person

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