It was around six am and I’m out at a cafe near a dog park in Manhattan. It’s Saturday morning and I’m doing homework. I figured the cafe would be a peaceful place but to do it, however, I’ve been stressing out for the past hour trying to get this math homework right. Algebra is the only class I have issues with and it frustrates me that things either go in one ear and out the other, or it just bounces off my head all together.
Sighing out on frustration, I tell the server at the counter that I’ll be back and leave the cafe towards the dog park. Before crossing the street I hear a bird singing. It wasn’t just your average chirp chirp tune. No, this bird was singing a tune almost worthy enough to being on the big screens.
Turning to look, I see a bird with a rainbow tail and feathers. It has spots and designs all over its body. I could recognize it as the mythical Rainbow Bird. Many people come to visit the park just to see it, however, the bird sometimes doesn’t come since it moves from park to park. This is my first time actually seeing it. I walked closer to the bird to see it singing to a few people who were out early. I noticed that the bird was singing everyone’s requested song. Most of his music was sung with really high pitched notes and I began to worry about the bird’s voice. I realized that I had been at the dark park for too long and I went back to the cafe for my coffee. Thanking the server and letting the bird fly from my thoughts, I packed up and went home.
The next day I came back. I was still stressing over my homework assignments and worrying that I might never live up to other people’s expectations since I’m considered to be the “smart kid.” I am always the first to willingly help others in need, yet, also the person who never has her own personal problems. Talk about a real life myth… I walk into the dog park only to gasp in shock. The Rainbow Bird wasn’t a Rainbow Bird anymore. All of his beautiful feathers were on the floor and there were black feathers in there place. Most of the electric designs were gone and he looked worn out like a beaten, dirty pigeon, but he was also…afraid? I had checked on the dog park’s Instagram page and saw from the newsfeed that he had been singing the whole day.
I remembered yesterday how the Rainbow Bird had to sing difficult notes. I suppose he wanted to please his crowd to the best of his ability and wore itself out in doing so. In that moment, I realized that we had something in common. Both the Rainbow Bird and I wanted to please the people around us, even if it hurt us and made us dull. I ran towards the Rainbow Bird petting it and taking it with me inside the cafe. I figured that it needed to rest from singing the entire day.
For the next few hours I tended to the bird, and yet it kept flapping and nodding as if it wanted to return to the dog park. I left once more taking the bird with me. It flew up to a perch and began to sing for a crowd of people. The only difference was his voice wasn’t as beautiful and as soothing as before. It was croaky and hoarse. Though the Rainbow Bird struggled to sing, the spectators continued to take videos and selfies and they really didn’t care about the bird’s well being. They still enjoyed the performance, cheering and focusing on the memory rather than the present. I walked back to the cafe in deep thought.
Seeing the Rainbow Bird continuing to sing even though it was struggling and the people cheering had me realize that I also struggle, for example in Algebra. Just because I can’t live up to other people’s expectations, doesn’t make people dislike me any less. As long as I try with all my heart, that’s good enough. I walked back inside the cafe, ordering a drink and sit down warmly. Then I open up my notebooks and continue to do my homework. I’m not so stressed anymore. I now know that even though I struggle it’s okay. People won’t think less of me. I will persevere.
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