Not everyone is lucky enough to be physically or emotionally close to their family. Whether death, distance, or dysfunction prevents a connection with our family of origin, many, like me, rely instead on our chosen family for security, comfort, and protection. Mine just happens to be the horde of highly trained crows I use to attack my enemies.
To me, the most important aspects of family are empathy and caring. Of course, a flock of murderous crows, some of the smartest birds, would have both of those in spades. You see, murder is not just a word that can be used to describe a group of crows, it is also something they’re capable of if you give them enough love. It took no time before the ones that crept close during my lunches in the park learned to recognize my moods. Usually sorrow or bloodthirst. Throw in a few months employing a training system based on B.F. Skinner’s reward/punishment theory of animal learning, and you’ve got yourself some killers. Now I have confidants as close to me as any blood-relative could ever be.
My crows are always there for me and never express judgment if I’m cranky or whatever. They’re never too busy to listen to my troubles before descending on those responsible in a black hurricane of beaks and talons. I’m sure experiencing a living storm cloud of avian carnage would make someone imagine it’s the end of the world as we know it. But me? I see that dark cloud with the warmth of knowing I am loved and cared for.
There’s real solace in knowing I always have someone to watch my back. That emotional safety (which I was never granted from my birth mother) allows me to be my true, authentic self in the world. I don’t think I could ever scream at a coworker that they’ll rue the without the confidence that comes from acceptance, and revenge.
It’s hard to put into words just what it means to have this chosen family. For so long I fantasized about belonging to a group who accepted me for me, in addition to the peanuts I fed them. I don’t know what I’d do without the connection that we’ve forged. Probably send threatening all- caps emails from anonymous accounts. But I don’t have to engage in any of that pettiness anymore!
I’ll be the first to say that this family isn’t traditional, but that shouldn’t matter and you know what? If you have an issue you can take it up with my crows. As long as my crows are by my side, nothing can stop me.