The Freedom Series: Part 2: Caged

I went to the zoo just recently. My friend and I were attracted to a particular cage where several other people were gathered. This young dad was there with his two little girls and he was persuading them to put their face against the glass. Just as he managed to convince them, this huge fierce face of a bengal tiger bumped his nose to the glass where their little faces appeared. We all jumped out of our skin a little. I continued to watch the tiger, fascinated and noticed him just pacing up and down the edges of the compound.

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All the animals were pacing that day. We reckoned that it must have just been coming up to feeding time, and they were all pacing impatiently waiting for food to be brought to them- a far cry from their innate nature.
But maybe they pace because they can’t do what is in their nature to do. They can’t run out in to the wild and be free. They must live in a tiny isolated space, scrutinised and watched from the outside for amusement.
It’s sad looking in to a cage. But it must feel so much worse to be sat inside looking out.
Part of me knows what it’s like to live like that, figuratively at least.
In a culture where we must act a certain way to be acceptable or likeable, we hide our true selves, to the point of not really knowing who we are anymore.
When we are told “Be yourself”, it’s risky business. What if people don’t like the “real” me? What if they can’t handle it? So in some ways, we cling to our cages, and the pre tense of the mask we’ve made for ourselves. Because it’s safe. Because we know what to expect.

free 5

But it isn’t a way to really live. And to go on hiding, is to lie. It’s lying to yourself, it’s lying to those that love you.
I’d rather be honest, and admit failure and messing up, than be a externally polished and perfected yet a liar.
Maybe, if we admit this cage we’ve made for ourselves isn’t the real us, then the ones we love can help us, and guide us in to the wild unknown.
Photo credit: Chris Law

Photo credit: Chris Law

I admit a shed a little tear at 1:33.

We’ll earn respect through honesty. And then we’ll know the cost of being real and never want to go back to our cages again.
We’ll ferociously guard our freedom and stand to attack any crippling fear that might try to quiet your voice or any
belittling lie that might try and force us to hide (like you’re not worth love, you’re not enough, you’re too much to handle).
tiger 6
Be the wild you. Break out of your cage. Break down the perfect veneer. Be the real you, even if it’s messy. Believe it or not: It’s far more beautiful than fakery.
Drawing: Mine

Drawing: Mine

  • Caged (

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