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Drawing through the three P’s: Pandemic, Perimenopause and Overall Pissiness

a graphic novel hybird sample excerpts of each section

I am “Bird Brained.”

According to an online dictionary, the phrase “bird-brained” is defined as “a silly flighty person.” I was once called flighty by someone who did not know me, but I do not fit that description. I can be silly, but I am very analytical most of the time. I fight feeling my emotions, which may explain why my head is now filled up with birds and that phrase fits. How do I know this? Because one day, the first one showed up, and it was obsessed with eggs.

“She has no eggs,”are words she used.

the exact

We heard a story on a vacation. That story led to the discovery of the birds in my head. We were sitting at a table with another couple in a Bed and Breakfast in Sedona, Arizona. The wife was very chatty and began telling us about her daughter, who was trying to get pregnant but couldn’t. She was enduring a ton of fertility tests and they discovered...she had no eggs left. She described her daughter with such pity and shame I was embarassed for her. Hearing this story, in spite of the goodness of the fancy china cups of tea and the blueberry scone, I felt uncomfortable, and then panic. I was already having symptoms of perimenopause -- occasional hot and cold episodes, anxiety, and weird cycles. Was I like this woman who was empty of eggs and frowned upon because of it? And how many eggs did I have left?! That’s when I met my first Peribird and my strong emotions became birds. Later they would be joined by Pandemic, Duck Pond, and eventually, Forbidden Birds, who needed to be freed from their cages. But I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s meet the Peribirds.

Peribirds The Peribirds were the first birds to be discovered. They are often crowned like royalty, or losing some feathers along the way. Some sprout leaves implying possible growth. They helped me deal with this transition not often discussed.

One..two...three..Keeping track of the eggs. Still eggs -- Whoa. SURPRISE CYCLES.

Fear searching google...one woman was in perimenopause and she ran off with the mailman claiming her messed-up hormones would not let her think clearly. Symptoms that could develop: loss of libido, drying up, anxiety attacks, heart disease, bones wasting away, hair falling out, aging rapidly over night., dried out hair and skin, headaches you can’t stop, fuzzy thinking...

Is THIS the last one? Then what happens? Google is not my friend.

Is it hot in here?

It would be nice if I had a cool penguin for my head

A penguin arrives

The Process

The Realization

I might be the one in the


Pandemic birds Now acquainted with the Peribirds, the Pandemic birds emerged next, created per global situation. New emotions arrived like strong fear & insomnia. I was sharing my birds with friends and realizing these were universal feelings for us all.

What Anxiety looks like in my head

the insomniac, born 2:30 a.m. one Saturday


Trying to fit into a box now in this new world.

By Friday.

The Duck Pond The Duck Pond is where all my birds come to congregate in my head. The birds here represent my social self -the awkward, the introvert and the sensitive -- and the emotions that come with it.

After reading the news

Me, riding the waves of everyone’s emotions

Introvert during zoom meeting

After zoom meeting

Forbidden Birds There are some feelings I don’t let myself feel. They are un-ladylike, or deemed “wrong” by others or myself so they hide in cages. My Forbidden Birds are the most precious of all. The acceptance of my bird-brained condition led me to meet them, and through the process, finally free them.

Forbidden Feeling #1

Some of the birds in my head that I have met in this process

I don’t get it

Don’t include that

love it!

The audience always in my head

ABout the Author/illustrator, Ronni Rose Swanson Ronni has been an artist ever since she was gifted with a yellow bag filled with fancy pencils and pens. She went to school for graphic art and illustration, and has her own business, Designing Fairy, inventing illustrated products and books that help and teach others backed by her recent Master of Science degree in Educational Technology and Instructional Design. She lives in beautiful Arizona with her patient husband, 3 creative step-kids, a talking dog, and a bloodhound obsessed with lizards in a 1930’s house visited by lots of birds.

Head to the website to sign up for the online class so you can learn how to draw your own feeling birds. See the birds move in my webcomic on Facebook (designingfairybooks)

Š2020 Ronni Rose Swanson

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The Aviary in My Head sample pages