10 Things I Wish I’d Known Earlier About the Birds & the Bees
Written by Katie Tallo.
When I was nine, I was a tomboy with an attitude. Scraped knees and climbing trees – that was me. I spent my days biking through city parks and my nights racing across backyards with a pack of kids as we played capture the flag. I was free as a bird.
Then one night when I was hiding in the bushes from the enemy tribe, next to a boy from the neighbourhood, his leg touched mine. He pulled away in disgust. “Your legs are hairy. You should shave them.” I had no idea I was even supposed to shave them. I was mortified at being so repulsive. Since I didn’t know how to shave my legs, from that day forward, I kept them as far away from that boy as I possibly could. His words stung for a long time.
At school, I was regularly referred to as fish lips by a boy who sat next to me. Full lips were not “in” back then. What was odd though was that I had the impression this boy liked me. I bravely asked him to dance at the Grade Seven dance. He smirked and said, “You’re too straight.” I didn’t know what he was talking about. He pointed to my flat chest and said, “Too straight!” and walked off. Sting number two.
My feet have always been pretty big. My first boyfriend laughed when I bought a pair of runners that made my feet look like boats. He even called over one of his buddies who was standing nearby, “Check out her feet! They’re huge!” I laughed off sting number three. But sometime later, he made fun of the way I kissed. Sting number four ached for years.
We all have them – those humiliations that feel like tiny bee stings to the heart. Bees come in all shapes and sizes, from sniveling nine-year-old boys to sniveling sixteen-year-old boyfriends, from insensitive bosses, to tactless friends or critical parents.
Five Things I Wish I’d Known About Bees Back Then:
- I wish I’d known they could only sting me if I let them.
- I wish I’d known how to stick up for myself, come up with a great comeback, and not take any crap from any bee.
- I wish I’d known that bees don’t really want to sting me, they just don’t know any better and sometimes, they’ve been stung too.
- I wish I’d known that it was okay to stick up for others when they got stung.
- I wish I’d known that some bees don’t realize there’s more than one kind of beauty and more than one way to do things.
But I didn’t – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Being ahead of my time, being shrewd or cunning as a child, would have meant I had nothing to grow into – nothing to become. I wouldn’t have learned from my experiences or developed the kind of grit, stamina, spirit or integrity that comes from making mistakes and not being perfect in the eyes of all bees.
What slowly heals those stings is our soul. It shines back at us when we look in the mirror. It is the ointment to our stings. It sooths them, but it doesn’t stop them from happening. It knows that we need to run into a few bees once in a while. It knows that bees teach us life’s lessons about how to spread our wings, take flight and feel as free as a bird – just like we did before we were stung.
Five Things I Wish I’d Known About Birds Back Then:
- Birds are beautiful. They don’t all wear the same feathers. Each is unique.
- Birds are natural. They are connected to earth, trees, wind and water.
- Birds are instinctual. They just know. They jump out of their nests and fly. They know what to eat to survive, where to live and how to protect themselves.
- Birds sing. They communicate, play and dazzle one another with music.
- Birds can soar to great heights. They let their leaders lead them, they fly together, and they can see for miles.
Once you know about the birds and the bees, you can have faith in the natural unfolding of your life. You can learn to love the skin you’re in and connect with what your instincts are telling you is good for you. You can begin to sing, set your sights high and soar to a place where your soul can see for miles and your heart knows what really matters. You can begin to let go the bees and embrace the beautiful bird within.
This post was written as part of a series of Life Lessons being created by Abubakar Jamil whose self improvement blog explores how to gain mental clarity and overcome self-limiting beliefs.