Like many others active on social media a viral video of Jane Marczewski, who goes by “Nightbirde” singing her original song, “It’s Okay” on America's Got Talent found me on Facebook. Her entire essence radiated with a glow that I could be feel even across a computer screen. Not only did I have a visceral reaction to her song with tears streaming down my face, but I also had an emotional reaction fueled with acceptance and peace. We come to find out she has been working though cancer over the past few years and is still currently in the process of facing it in several parts of her body. At this point in her life she has a 2 percent chance of survival and goes on to state that 2 percent isn’t 0 percent. Despite adversity that is occurring in real time she has shifted her perception and is using the power of imagination to work for her. During the judges panel when commenting back to Simon Cowell who was praising her ability to casually explain her past year she stated, “ you can’t wait for life not to be hard, before you decide to be happy”.
I found myself listening to her acoustic version of song after searching for her on Spotify again and again and again. I swear that within a two day span I may have heard it 30 times. As I went back on to Facebook the next day, I saw so many people shared that they had also done the same thing. They too found themselves playing the song again and again and again. What exactly was it that we were all relating to?
I can’t speak for everyone else, but I have sat with what it was for myself. For me it was a reminder of my survival, how I struggled to find my way as I healed getting lost many times along the way. It was a reminder of how I grew deeper in compassion for myself using the words "It's Okay", and lastly her way of being resonated with my outlook on life today. One rooted in understanding impermanence and the importance of the here and now. Though I have not been faced with an illness that was threatening my life, I related with her and the words of her song as a trauma survivor.
Though I am on the other side of my unraveling, so many of her lyrics just hit home but these ones specifically.
Oh Dang, Oh My Now I can’t hide
I said I knew myself but I guess I lied / I said I knew what I wanted but I guess I lied
It’s okay it’s okay it’s okay it’s okay
If you feel lost, we are all a little lost and It’s alright.
Over the past 5 years it was revealed to me through the unraveling of my life in all the ways I lacked a sense of self. While on the journey to develop agency through my healing, I was met with roads full of twists and turns that created inner disturbance leaving me lost and often the people around me in my world lost as well.
Personally, I have overcome things and am overcoming things that many trauma survivors with a high number of adverse childhood experiences do not come back from. People who have a high number of adverse childhood experience are more likely to go through life differently. It is not uncommon for them to have higher incidences of depression, attempt suicide, have chronic health issues, addiction just to name a few. I too fell into that statistic having ticked the boxes on many of the impacts of complex trauma. To be on the other side and having rebuilt different parts of me is more rare that people know due to the impact of trauma on a persons whole self. Through my journey of looking at the parts of my life that were swept under the rug or hidden I was forced to see the impact of trauma over my lifespan. I have come to terms with patterns of thinking and behavior, that reveal themselves when ready forcing me to have a death and rebirth cycle of self, time and time again.
Complex trauma survivors often lack a sense of self and developing one becomes an exploration of wants and needs. Through empowerment and relational safety I have practiced developing a sense of self. I have found inner peace with my life’s journey and have learned to ride the wave of the ups and downs that cycle through with a large number or tools to help me do life to work on my mindset as well as root myself in being here for the bliss of my own existence.
5 years ago was my last suicide attempt where the words came out of my mouth, " if I am going to live, then I am really going to live." That meant no more hiding, no more suppressing, no more not knowing myself, no more unconsciousness to the impact of trauma. Leaning in to what was present and being with it was the boldest thing I could do. That decision allowed me to begin the process of being in the here and now. Nighbirde’s words “you can’t wait for things not to be hard before you decide to be happy” felt familiar to my own realization of myself from that time in my life.
For me and so many who have their own stories of survival Jane Marczewski, “Nightbirde” is a living legend of thriving vs surviving. As she continues to fly into the dark sky without a doubt "Nightbirde" will shine on as guiding light carrying people home.