the caged bird sings.

written, designed, and edited by Bee Butler


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Tonight, my parents left for a trip to Fort Worth, where they’ll see Mom’s in-laws, and from where my mother will drive to the funeral of the father of one of her best friends. All of this means that they’ll be gone all weekend, that I’ll be here alone, by myself, and if you had told them two weeks ago that they would be making this trip, they would probably curse in your direction, because haven’t you seen our poor daughter, lying there perched on the couch with heaving sobs? She wants to die. She’s more fragile than a faberge egg… if we left, she would be gone when we got back.

Right now, having kissed/hugged them goodbye several hours ago, I am lying in the recliner in the living room, catching up on the nearly TWO YEARS of my favorite writer’s blog and stumbling upon her music suggestions, which have, in the past made me fall in love with Radiohead, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and, of course, Prodigy’s “Smack My Bitch Up”.. I’m up to January of 2018 right now, and I landed on a post containing James Blake’s cover of “Vincent”, originally written and recorded by Don McClean. And I’m not going to link the original song, because it cannot, in any way, compare to what I am currently listening to for the third time.


The first time I hit play, I suddenly closed my eyes and was overwhelmed with a grateful, peaceful, heart-bursting flood of emotions like a wave crashing onto the shore. As I sat here, knowing I would have to write about it, I tried to move so that I could open up a new post, but I couldn’t. I had to sit there and take it all in, to drink up as much of that moment as possible, because when you struggle with the kind of depressive episode I have been in since early December, that kind of wave feels like someone releasing you from all your pain, and you can just let go and simple BE… and that is something I have been coming closer and closer to as the days go by. This medication is disrupting my depression with the ability to perform tasks, and thus feeling productive, which releases hormones that my severely depleted serotonin supply cannot supercede, and for a few minutes each day, there are endorphins in my brain.

I thought, for nearly two months, that I would never feel that again.

And as the swell of the piano, the lilt of his voice, and the perfectly paired lyrics about another artist who struggled just as I am, I knew that there are few people on earth who are as blessed as I am in this moment.

Comfortable in my reclining chair, enjoying the most beautiful music that fills my soul in a way that only music can, a gift I believe God gave me from birth so that I could navigate the waters of mental illness; music, be it listening or writing or playing, or, god bless it, performing, allows me to grab hold of the life preserver just in time to avoid the undertow. It takes me far away from this world and all the horrible things in it, from myself and all the memories I wish I could somehow unlearn…. I am here, in this giant house, warm and safe. I have medication that allows me to feel all of this without losing myself or wishing for a world that lacked my presence. I have loving parents who, despite being gone, have and will be shuttling me to and from appointments to GET this medicine, this new therapist, this second chance at life, this brief period where I have no obligations but to heal and dwell upon my new calling, one God has only just given me, and I am in awe of all that I have. The things that have kept me alive.

Even all the time at Ponto or Venice Beach could not have saved me this time.
Only coming home. Letting it be home. Being in Texas again, in capable, loving hands instead of being shoved away by grease-covered, callous, abusive ones that somehow still tethered me to the Golden Coast; it was only this that kept me from taking my own life, and I will never, in any song or verse or post, be able to express my gratitude for this place, once a prison, now a dawning, hopeful place where spring will soon bring a rising sun and ward away the chills.

And I will be reborn again, blossoming like the flowers, because I was able to get the help I needed.
My God, there are no words for how blessed, how lucky, how fortunate… how sweet it is to be here, helped.

Thank you.
Thank you so much.
My love will forever be with everyone who got me to this moment, listening to the final refrains of the fifth replay of “Vincent” begin to play.

You are everything to me.