What It Feels Like to Be A Mockingbird

By Kaitlyn Howe

Mockingbirds are performers. Their singing is a gift to those who have the pleasure of hearing it. They follow the guidance of another tune and turn it into their own. Their presence can be made known with a simple whistle from their beak. Their lives are devoted to the delight of those around them. Their lone goal is to serenade others with their voices. They have no hate, no prejudice, no grudges. They don’t tear others down, or use them for their own benefit. To kill a mockingbird would be a sin.

Despite wanting to be, I am not a mockingbird.

Mockingbirds do no wrong. They often represent innocence. Besides their singing, mockingbirds’ innocence is their main trade mark. Due to their innocence, mockingbirds become extremely delicate. They become easy targets, waiting to be taken advantage of by those desperate enough. Their hearts are always on the line. Mockingbirds look for the best in others, but not without being aware of the risks others carry.

I do wrong; I am not innocent. It would be one thing if my mistakes were my wrong doings, but I wish that were the case.

I am not a mockingbird because I choose what I do incorrectly. My wrong doings are not innocent; I know when I have done something wrong. There are oftentimes where I have a decision between the right thing to do and the easy thing to do. A mockingbird, with their only priority being to do good, would choose to do the right thing. I do not always choose the right thing to do. I rarely associate doing good with my actions. Simplicity is more attractive to me than being a good person.

Mockingbirds emphasize and beautify the music of those around them. Mockingbirds do not get jealous. Others’ success is only motivation for them to celebrate, not motivation for them to be better than each other. Mockingbirds do not feel they have to one up each other. They enjoy others’ music and repeat it for all to hear.

I cannot enjoy other people’s success. I cannot celebrate others’ victories. When I hear of someone’s triumphs, I cannot help but want to accomplish something greater. I feel no satisfaction in the success of others—only jealousy. I am not able to let anyone else shine without immediately wanting to dull them.

But I will admit, the effort is there. I may not make my own music, or even repeat the tunes of others, but I am able to recognize beautiful music when I hear it. Recognizing it is one thing, but being able to find joy in it is a whole different topic.

I am not completely heartless. The wrong decisions I make are not always felt without guilt. I recognize my wrong doings, and genuinely feel bad about them. I notice there is room for improvement. Sometimes I make up for my bad decisions by focusing on others. I observe what they do right, and take notes on what I need to change for the future. There are mockingbirds all around me. By simply observing them, I figured I could improve from them.

My own jealousy is my worst enemy. Maybe I am not able to celebrate others’ success because I am so focused on success for myself, or just success in general. But, there is guilt here, too. I wish I could disregard my constant jealous feelings. Maybe, it would affect my life greater than I may anticipate. Maybe, if I were able to find happiness in others, then I would be happier in general. I want to be able to do this. I want to be able to surrender my-self loathing to something bigger than myself. The desire to be better is there.

Who is to blame for my inability to enjoy others’ success? Who’s fault is it that I cannot be happy for my peers during their victories? I could argue it is society’s fault and say my generation has been taught to never accept defeat. I could say it was the way I was raised, and that my parents always wanted the best for me. I could argue it is my peers’ fault and say it is their own heartlessness has rubbed off on me. But, I think it is more internal than that.

There is a certain satisfaction in knowing you are the best at something. The feeling of being “untouchable” is something one could get used to easily. Everybody knows that one kid that always has to be first or the best at something. It may get annoying to watch that person continually succeed, until one succeeds themself. Being at the top can have a rough trek preceding it, yet a gorgeous view succeeding it. While at the top, one may notice all who are below them, still making their climb. It causes one to reminisce on their own climb. They may remember the struggles they endured and the challenges they overcame. Winning is great, but being able to reach one’s hand down and help their peers also reach the top can take more strength than the climb itself. Mockingbirds are able to reach their hand (or wing) down and offer help to the next person. I strive to be a mockingbird.

I may not always show the qualities of a mockingbird, but mockingbirds make mistakes too. Nobody is perfect. Mockingbirds can do all they can to sing perfectly, and still miss a note. All their best efforts can go down the drain. Mockingbirds get tired. They may get to a point where they are tired of singing and just need to catch their breath. Mockingbirds fall, too. Sometimes they fall while just wanting to fly. They have to learn to get up, too. Maybe my imperfections are the same as those of a mockingbird. Maybe I relate to a mockingbird, but in a way I never expected.

Maybe, just maybe, I am a mockingbird.