I woke up to the searing pain of my heart, and at once I knew that I held a tortured bird in there. I put on my shorts and flew outside, running to the far reaches of the trees. Racing back with a crazed grin on my face. Never had I moved so fast under the strength of my own legs! It was thrilling to reach that well of seemingly limitless strength! I was grateful to my heart for showing me what it is to fly, as she flapped and chirped all the while. Screeching her fear over the sound of my pounding feet and breathless cackles of glee.
But I knew it could not last, and before I felt ready (because I knew I never would), I took my flying heart home and settled her into a warm bath.
And bit by bit my body loosened. As though the salty water were unhinging the bolts of my great steel armour and dissolving the heavy plates as they fell away from pink skin.
So too went the cage around my heart.
With surprise, my belly flew out to a vast size for breath. So used to meeting the thick walls of stress and control that it sailed away when there was no resistance. As I breathed, I reached out my hands to catch the sweet bird that fell out. I held my heart to my chest and soothed her trembling feathers. She was so worn and small!
And in the moment of our first meeting, I promised to love and care for her. To protect her from the rigours of expectation and duty that always hung low in the room. I could not promise her a clear sky. But, at least, my dear heart was finally able to rest in my own hands. As a soft baby bird, I first learned how to love myself.