I have always liked birds. A bird is free. To me, they symbolize a life with no inhibitions; without being restricted by Ataxia. The chickadee, especially, is cheerful and always optimistic. These are qualities I admire. Like the bird feeder: I can forget to fill it, but when I do, they’re always forgiving and swarm to it singing the whole time. They live in the moment, cheerfully eating not worrying where tomorrow’s supply will come from.
They are so optimistic that there ‘will be’ a tomorrow. But they are not so foolhardy as to not build a nest. Some preparations are required. I believe there is a distinction between foolhardy and optimistic. And somewhere in there is happiness and that’s where I want to be. Yes, at times I’ve wished I could be like the birds and just ‘fly away’ but even the birds know that they eventually need to land.
Back in 2011, I got a tattoo of a chickadee as a constant reminder. I had come to the conclusion that Ataxia had made a permanent mark on me, without my permission, and that I was going to do something voluntarily permanent.