I wandered upon myself entombed in iron caging and glass walls on all sides
Bars built to hold a wild animal- a container with no privacy or escape
I looked through the bars at the “me” stuck inside
A desperate, desolate, distant version of myself
All the color and light her eyes had turned black. As if her pupils dilated into an abyss
The bones in her face pushed to the surface, starved and malnourished
Skin and bone, like looking at a skeleton, ghost white pale
Under her eyes the skin was dark and puffy, the surface cracked, broken out and scratched raw
She had picking anxiously, nervously, almost compulsively while trapped
As I gazed upon her, I studied her, like an exotic creature, or an animal stuck in a zoo exhibit
Noticing her features, her sad eyes, her behaviors and mannerisms, and her latent beauty
Not understanding what this creature was trying to communicate with it’s behavior
You wonder how she got in the cage
Was she plucked from nature
From her family
From the other creatures like her
Would you notice, if you saw her in her natural element, would she stand out to you among the other wild creatures
Did she deserve to live like this, like the other creatures in the exhibits. Some wild with rage, some whimpering, begging for relief, some numb to the entire world.
From the inside of the cage, behind the bars, and plexiglass
All that fills her mind is cruel thoughts, self hatred, guilt, doubt and fear
Fear of the unknown, fear of what’s happening outside these walls without her. Does anyone even notice she’s gone?
There is nothing to do but think, think of every wrongdoing, a lifetime of mistakes and failures fill inside her head. Tracing through memories and pinpointing exactly the moment life got away.
And so these thoughts start to feed her brain, she begins to believe this is where she belongs. This is what she deserves, to be trapped and treated as an animal
In exile from her world, in exile from normal and comfortable
On the outside of the cage I feel indifferent, maybe we don’t deserve to be in there, if I let us out, would we return and cause havoc on our world. Would we learn form our mistake and be better. Would we crumble from pressure and cease to exist
Perhaps we are inside because we deserve to be inside, or perhaps we were never meant to be inside and we are worthy of a chance.
The fear controls us, it keeps me locked in the cage, and it keeps me from breaking open the door and releasing myself.
But there has to be a conscious decision made, will we let fear and the unknown control us
Or will we find a way to control our fear and overcome our shortcomings?
I have wandered from the caged me, and explored the other exhibits of caged creatures. Wild, unsympathetic, rage-full, with far more troubling reasons to be in a cage.
I turn back around and see the me inside the cage.
I realize this is not where we belong. Not in this cage,
I unlock the door, and reach in to pull myself out. Embracing myself with a warm forgiveness. This is only the beginning of new, long and exhausting journey
As I am pulled from the cage, we join as one person, torn between fear from the torment of the cage, and the need to grow and prove our self worth.
And so I breathe
One breath after another, until the day turns to night.
I get myself to sleep, pushing through my racing thoughts and doubts and insecurities, Just breathe
I wake up sweating and crying out in terror, the nightmares had waited until I was asleep, reliving the pain, suffering, fear and guilt I felt during the day, and amplified those feelings into horrid stories created by my subconscious.
And again start the day, pushing through, afraid to be awake with flashbacks of the cage racing through my head all day, and afraid to go to sleep for the nightmares that would torture me
But as days and nights pass, things will get better.
I Will put my life back together like a complex puzzle- demanding focus and expecting frustrations
I will have good days where I almost forget about the cage and the me I found inside, and out of nowhere the bad days will linger in the shadows, waiting to attack us and remind us of the cage.
I will breathe
I will place one foot in front of the other, even if the battle seems all uphill.
Day after day, breath after breath and one foot in front of the other, I will push forward.
I will keep heading uphill until the path I’m on is on a mountain side.
Little by little I will climb this mountain of fear, losing traction every once in awhile, but I will always regain my steps, as I will remember to breathe.
I will look from where I stand on the mountain and see the place from which I started, in a cage, in a ditch. It will look so far away, almost too small to see.
I will look down at the winding path that got me to where I stand today and that is when I will be able to see my progress, that one breath, and one step at a time, have helped me climb a mountain.
I will see how far I’ve come from the bottom, how hard I worked to get here, and from way up here on the mountain, I will also realize that I was not meant to be in a cage
And from that top of the mountain, I will no longer feel fear, doubt, guilt, or despair.
That cage that took away everything from me is out of reach, out of sight and long in the past, My eyes will shine bright green with joy, love, and appreciation, and instead of a black eye’d skeleton staring back at me, I will finally see myself.
I will change on this journey as every journey pushes us to our limit. But I will be strong, and know – I got through this- I can get through anything.