Finely Feathered, Friends

Image created while in my virtual paradise, Second Life

The twisted desires of Phoenicopterus ruber

Excerpts from A Field Guide to Secret Dreams and The Self:

*Twisted – Joni Mitchell
“My analyst told me that I was right out of my head.
The way he described it, he said I’d be better dead than ‘live.
I didn’t listen to his jive.
I knew all along that he was all wrong,
And I knew that he thought I was crazy, but I’m not. Oh no!”

This is about my inner life and yours, about the inner lives of all our ‘feathered friends’. It’s about the down we wear, about genius and nonconformity and the future of homo sapiens sapiens. Maybe. I say this upfront, my disclaimer, if you will. A big job, but someone has to do it. I’ve called you all here for a chat about me and you and us… forever.

As you can clearly see from the above expeditionary photo, phoenicopterus ruber are not just pretty plumage. These are birds of substance with profound, if not slightly bent, desires to be more than they can be. The feathers they show to the world betray none of this, unless — unless you happen to pop in on them suddenly, or catch a glimpse in your periphery when they assume you’re not looking. Today, imagine that these flamingos, like me and you, learned early in life to keep a lot to themselves for a host of very good reasons. The flamingo cultural loudspeakers chant to them from cradle to grave: “YOU are a bird. It is important that you think and behave as a bird or we will all surely die. Woe,… WOE is us!”  

You know the drill: You , child, must have no other yearnings, no twisted non-“us” aspirations, and IF you should have any, because of some genetic anomaly, or the dastardly influence of evildoers, we don’t want to know. Excel as we tell you to excel. Social psychologists and other earnest studiers of life on The Happy Planet reinforce this by telling us that these injunctions are critical ingredients in the glue-stew that holds all societies together. (Woe, woe! As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end. Can I have an ‘amen’?)

“My analyst told me that I was right out of my head.
He said I’d need treatment, but I’m not that easily led.
He said I was the type that was most inclined,
When out of his sight to be out of my mind,
And he thought I was nuts. No more ifs or ands or buts.”

Thankfully, the studying castes have discarded the long-embraced idea that younglings come into this world in a blissful and malleable state of tabula rasa. We bring something else with us at the core of our magical genetic code – let’s call it: Self. Over our lifespans Self may dress in the feathery robes of family and cultural units – or go into hiding completely, but time and time again for as long as we’ve been recording such things, Self resists absolute assimilation. Scratch a “good child” who has learned that boat-rocking is dangerous, and beneath breathes Self who holds protected all dreams, all fantastic longings and genius desires. Self is genius, and it’s not an anomaly. Hear this again: Your Self is the genius that has over countless eras lived at Vanguard Central of all goodness on our Happy Planet. Yours and mine, Friends. Resistance is never futile.

It gives me great pleasure indeed to see the stubbornness of an incorrigible nonconformist warmly acclaimed. – Albert Einstein
Today, as the loudspeakers whisper and bellow that to speak of Self and celebrate Self is somehow harmful to family, community, nation and world, other wisdom knows better. Woe, woe, NO! Don’t even get me started on the negative connotation of “selfies”. I see that as just a feigned attempt to please our internalized parental units. And if I don’t stop now, I’ll digress again. Incorrigible!

“They say as a child I appeared a little bit wild with all my crazy ideas.
But I knew what was happening. I knew I was a genius.
What’s so strange when you know that you’re a wizard at three?
I knew that this was meant to be.”

You’ll read no scholarly pronouncements from me here, not today. It’s just not the clothing I wear. I need feathers. But, I love symbol and metaphor. I adore that human beings are hard-wired that way. I’ve come to tickle and tease you with my twisted nonconformist meanderings. It’s my ‘genius’. I hope you haven’t been holding your breath for something else. Disappointment sucks.

Today I celebrate You — your sparkly Selves — each and all, and mine! Did you get any on you? I hope so!

“My analyst told me that I was right out of my head.
But I said Dear Doctor, I think that it’s you instead,
Because I have got a thing that’s unique and new.
To prove it, I’ll have the last laugh on you.
‘Cos instead of one head, I’ve got two!
(AND you know two heads are better than one…”)

Feathery salutations from my overlook, my friends. I’m off to don my unicorn suit, dance on the moon in time eons forward. Unlike my flamingo I found my Self. See? I’m right here.
Cate ❤️


* “Twisted” is a 1952 vocalese song with lyrics by Annie Ross, originally set to a tenor saxophone solo of the same name by Wardell Gray, and one of my favorite pieces by The Lady Joni Mitchell

All images used in this blog are created in the virtual world, Second Life, unless specified otherwise.


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