So many meanings to this.
One story comes to mind specifically that I would love to share with you.
So, I have an irrational fear of birds. I hate them. While some see beautiful, graceful creatures… I see dirty, disease filled, flying rats. No, I am not just talking about pigeons, although they are the worst. Seagulls (mine! mine!), crows (seriously?!)…. just ew. I understand this is irrational — however, it is the perfect example of how we all see things differently in our own little worlds.
So, back to the story. Today, my partner and I were at a little coffee shop/cafe in Hayes Valley (a neighborhood in SF). He got there before me and picked a seat in their beautiful outdoor courtyard in the back of the cafe. I came out, complimented his on his seat selection and his food arrived. As he was eating, the couple behind us got up and left their salad bowl on their table. Now, this is one of those places that they ask you to clear your own glass bowls. This couple did not. All of a sudden, I hear the sound that I dread.. the sound of at least 10 sets of wings, flocking down right behind me. Then, I see my partner’s face, as he realizes what is going on behind me.
So, I turn my head over my left shoulder to see my worst fears coming true. There were about 12-13 pigeons attacking this bowl full of salad. As the 12-13 pigeons continue to peck and make bird calls to let their other friends know that there is a ton of food available for grabs, I freeze. Literally.. freeze. My entire body completely froze. My partner looks at me and says, “babe, do you want to move inside?” All I could say was, “no.” I couldn’t move. He continued to ask me, “are you sure? do you want to go inside? babe..” That’s when I lost my cool. The irony in this, is I did what I advise and help all of my clients not to do. It was in my panic/fight mode that I yelled back at him, “Didn’t you hear me the first time? I don’t want to go inside. I could HIT you right now!”
What in the world was that?
Hit you? “Hit you?!” I thought you to myself… what in the world…. who just took over my body!? I don’t talk to my partner that way!
Just like I imagine pigeons as being the lowest of low of birds… flamingos make being a bird look good. I mean, first of all, they’re pink. So, that’s a great start. They are always just chilling there, on one leg, looking cool. They don’t forge for food on cafe tables, no one made a movie about them eating people.. flamingos appear to be cool, calm, and collected; 3 things that I was NOT when replying to my partner.
So, when we are faced with a scary situation, we have two options that our body automatically gives us: FIGHT or FLIGHT.
I chose fight and acted horribly. In my fight, I didn’t communicate well with my partner and I took my frustration about a separate situation on him, causing him to be really hurt and question my words, since it was so out of character for me.
I tell you this story not to judge or to apologize to my partner (although, babe, you know I’m sorry…), but rather to let you know that we are all imperfect. My job is to help people communicate and what did I do in my moment of panic? I threw out a horrible sentence. We all make mistakes. We all fuck up. However, you can still be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons. Apologize. Admit you were wrong.
Even though I acted like a nasty pigeon… I’m blessed to have someone who will always see me as his flamingo.
Has this ever happened to you? Have you ever said something that you regretted right away? Please share your story with us; we can all learn from each other. Be a flamingo today.
*this post was originally written in 2014