I Used to Laugh at the People Who Watched Birds

Now, I am one of them

Hope Rising
4 min readNov 13, 2022


Picture is a part of author’s collection. ❤

Exhaustion is real. The chronic kind that doesn’t seem to dissipate with sleep, the kind that lingers beneath my exterior that is bubbly, caffeinated delirium.

I remember everything. I don’t remember anything. Every other heartbeat contradicts the one that came before it, challenging my status as a living being, calling into question everything that composes the little thing I call reality.

Sometimes, the past doesn’t feel real; sometimes, the present is nothing but autopilot in gift wrap with a bow, watching myself go through the motions like I’m watching me, the movie.

What a story…if any of it really happened.

I doubt myself until I doubt the spelling of the very word, asking why a silent b feels more freedom to take up space than I do to breathe. My breathing feels heavy. I stress about the feeling until my blood pressure is the real cause for alarm.

Just stop being stressed.

As a child, I was the one to look out the window on long drives, getting lost in the fabric of blurry trees for hours at a time, writing my own stories. Still, I laughed at the people who watched birds. I thought them hilarious.

When I was younger, I had the kind of potential that other people said would take me places. I was smart in a past life. I can still hear my father asking me what my summer job at a nature camp would accomplish.

Um, peace, dad.

But I was named for hope, not peace, and he had hopes for me. A doctor or an engineer, so the observation of fauna of any variety was clearly off the table.

Now, me, myself, and I are off the table. All the way off.

In kindergarten, our teachers asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up.

A 21-year-old divorcee…said no one, ever.

I think I wanted a farm, back then. Aside from denying the pain that I was feeling, I wasn’t that different from most kids. At seven, I believed in the magical power of my model horses.

At ten, I wanted to be a veterinarian, just like all the other girls. I also wanted to pet dolphins and marry my…



Hope Rising

Divorced, biracial woman | 23 going on 65 | Editor for Out of the Woods | I write to heal myself and others | Support me at https://ko-fi.com/aashaanna