When I found Fletcher, he asked me about my time at the Flock before I was banished to the Far Cliffs. This is what I told him, and I hope it can inspire any Gull out there struggling to find their own wings.
My family and friends were extremely annoyed by everything I did. I was a horrible food collector. I grew tired and bored whenever I had to fly over a ship and wait for scraps. I hated nosing around the little humans and squawk for food. It was all very tedious and humiliating. I am not a bird made for desperation. There are few animals who can take to the sky, so why did my Flock waste their time struggling for food? Were we not able to find our own instead of crying for others' scraps?
So, I escaped from the boring days with my wings. I could carry myself farther and farther away from their yelling. The sky was my safe place, and almost instantly I found it a hundred times more interesting than food wars. I immediately began to test my limits, and found myself thinking that a seagull was not built for real flight. Our long wings make flying fast awkward, and it's like it has been bred into our bones to avoid high altitudes. However, I felt like trying to break these limits was more eventful than anything my Flock was doing, so I spent my time doing that instead.
Of course, it wasn't easy. Many times I landed face first in the beach or half drowned in the water. But I loved it, no matter how battered, bruised, and hungry I became. My Flock never accepted this, though. Every night my mother yelled at me to get my priorities straight. My father begged me to stop making him look like a fool and do as I was told. It was not rare for the elders to speak with me and ask me to please stop trying to starve myself. Many of my friends turned their backs on me. I was an outcast before they sentenced me to the Far Cliffs. It certainty hurt, to not be understood. I had found my higher purpose, but there wasn't a single gull to share it with. I tried to show my mother once, and my father nearly pecked out my eyes he was so angry. I learned to keep to my self, to scale the clouds on my own. I became lonely for awhile, but in the end I felt comfort with the wind currents and the feel of my body easing through the sky in a way none of my Flock could achieve.
My youth was a time of uncertainty, rejection, and determination. I forced my hurt feelings to not stop me from what I loved most in the world. I toughed it out. I let my Flock hate me. I avoided the large group and ate only crumbs. But I can't remember ever feeling honestly sad. Even after my father and I got into that fight over my mother, I just flew off and practiced more high speed flying. Learning was my best friend, my family, even my Flock. If I had the power of knowledge, I didn't need the others. So, when they forced me to leave for the Far Cliffs, I briefly felt devastated, but as soon as my wings took to the sky and I realized I had unlimited time to master my flight, I had no more reason to feel upset. Remember, the gull sees farthest who flies highest.
I told this all to Fletcher, and he agreed that life before had been difficult. Since he himself had once been forced to the Far Cliffs, he was no stranger to the feelings of rejection and isolation. I think he liked seeing me again and hearing me mirror his own experiences. We agreed to give a lecture to his students and remind them that they are not alone, and that there are still Flocks out there like our Flock used to be. After the lecture, I plan to find a new Flock to educate.