• ThnatBook

Breaking Down the Book: Scoff of the Bird

We Go To Great Lengths

The experience our little Thnat had when encountering the bird, was probably the most frequent of incidents I had in my younger life. The immediate judgement and rude dismissal can take a toll on any impressionable mind. When this occurs multiple times, the challenge becomes not letting it influence your motivation to continue. While these events are not the sole reason of a potential depression trigger, they definitely add layers or more weight to the environment.

Today, it seems youth in general have access to many more resources than I had in the ‘80s and ‘90s. There’s also an increasing emergence into all things mental health and a fantastic society building around it. The transparency in sharing our unique stories opens the door for deeper relatability, and as you saw in last post’s Brene Brown video, deeper relatability is the grounds for empathy.

Below is a break down on the meaning of the bird in my book Thnat.

Crippled Commonality

When feeling like you’re isolated or an outcast because you are different, you also have a small sense that there has to be someone else who’s going through the same thing. You tend to speculate and look for those potential differences in others, in an effort to try to relate. In Thnat, the bird is separated from the flock, appearing to be going through her physical challenges all alone. “He sees her wing broken and the pain in her eye”. For young Nicole, being watchful of how others are being treated and using those moments to try to connect increased her sociability. While most of those efforts ended in rejection, several did succeed, which made it all feel worth it.

A Friend For A Day

We all know you can’t have something forever, so it’s best to appreciate what you have while you have it. I took this notion and applied it to friendships, momentary relationships that will hold for the time they’re meant to. In Thnat, the bird’s wing wouldn’t be broken forever, so it was an opportunity to be a friend for a short amount of time, a friend interim. He’d be fine accepting her going back to her other friends afterwards. “Since she can’t fly with the other birds in the sky”. For young Nicole, being a friend interim was a unique experience on its own, requiring a strong grasp on the changes of life. A very adult lesson I had to confront at a very young age.

It also had me questioning my motives. Was I eager to gain a friend through this opportunity in a selfish manner, so I could have a friend? Or was I offering my friendship because that person might really need someone in that moment, so they could have a friend? It came down to assessing if I looked at every opportunity the same, or if there were moments when I had put forth rejection, or when I could have reached out and I didn’t. It’s easy to get stuck in your own bubble of life’s ups and downs, it takes courage to reach out, to be vulnerable, and to offer yourself as a friend.

Living Without Explanation

Every rejection usually is followed by the question “why?”. We want to know the reason, as if we could use that information to change our approach or to help share a better understanding, but too often we are left with just the rejection. In Thnat, the rejection from the bird was harsh and gave an impression of it being almost taboo. “A friend Thnat? I WOULD NOT!” For young Nicole, there were rarely any explanations or answers as to why things happen. You can get some clues from context, but it won’t make it feel fair. You could spend a lifetime digging a hole of whys, but to some extent it will only keep you trapped in that hole.

In looking back at these moments, I would have told my younger self about how we may not know the reasons behind the actions of others, but does that change our action? We cannot let it affect the core of ourselves, because someday there may be a bird who does need a friend, whether with a visible wound or not. Moments like these are always a great tool for reflection on our self-awareness. Keeping in mind what efforts we can make to be more understanding, show empathy, and initiate positive changes wherever we go.


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