by: Sarah Fader
An inexplicable connection, a shared vulnerability…
I’m a small bird with a wounded wing.
I don’t show people my injury.
My wing, it makes me sick.
I don’t identify with it.
It’s not a part of me.
Only it is a part of me.
And when you asked me about it,
I told you to come closer,
so you could see it.
I trusted you to care for it.
That was fine.
I knew you would understand,
because even though you are not a bird your foot is broken.
And I’ve always admired that about you.
As a tiger,
you are strong and brave and vulnerable too.
When I noticed your twisted cracked foot I knew that
we had something that intrinsically connected us in a way that
I couldn’t explain to my bird mother.
She doesn’t know that I love you.
Nothing about you is simple,
that’s what I like about you.
One of the things I like about you.
Why do you hide your foot?
It’s beautiful and I love it.
It reminds me of my wing.
I don’t understand you.
You tuck it underneath your body like it doesn’t belong to you.
Like you are ashamed of it.
You are ashamed of it.
You cared so much about my broken wing.
When you touched it, I shuttered because it hurt to feel your fingertips on my feathers.
I want you to touch me again.
I’m going to fly away now.
There is no time.
I have to go.
And I cannot take you with me.
I’m sorry that I told you about it.
You didn’t need to know if you weren’t going to stay.
No, I know I said I was going.
Yes, I know you asked me to stay.
And I’m not staying because you don’t want to be with me.
You don’t understand how much my wing hurts when you touch it.
I like when you feel me but it hurts too much.
I need to go be with my mother bird.
Where it’s safe.
I can’t be with you anymore.
Please take care of your foot and
I hope you find love with
someone who understands how
broken and beautiful you are.
Sarah Fader is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She is an author and blogger, having been featured on Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, and Good Day New York. She recently released a collection of her essays from around the Internet entitled, Old School / New School Mom.