So, last night I’m lying in bed. I can’t sleep and I have this relentless thought, “I know why the caged bird sings.” It’s there, in my mind, in the middle of the night just screaming at me. “I know why the caged bird sings.” It’s a nice thought, it doesn’t hurt…and some thoughts do hurt, but this is a pleasant thought. It’s calming and almost reassuring. Eventually I fall back to sleep but the thought doesn’t go away because when I wake up, it’s right there greeting me as soon as I open my eyes, “I know why the caged bird sings.” I think to myself, maybe I need to write about this caged bird…but it sounds familiar. My trusted confidant Google tells me that it IS familiar. It’s the name of the autobiography of Maya Angelou. So Now I’m motivated lol, I feel like Ms. Maya Angelou was talking to me while I was semi unconscious and when Maya Angelou speaks to you, you listen.
I don’t know why the caged bird sings. How could I possibly know that? But I can imagine why the caged bird sings. I imagine that being in a cage strips this bird from real connection. I imagine this bird can’t be the bird that it wants to be behind bars. I imagine this bird envisions what life could be like if it wasn’t trapped. This beautiful bird (the bird in my mind is vibrant, colorful and a sight to see) is somehow less beautiful in this cage. It’s not as magical when we see it in the cage, now imagine this same bird flying across the sky. That same vibrant and colorful bird now looks like a miracle instead of a prisoner. So maybe the caged bird sings because it’s all it has left. It sings because it’s clinging to hope in a hopeless place. Maybe the caged bird sings because it remembers that singing is something that cannot be taken away. Cage this bird- but it can and will sing… but oh, imagine the songs it would sing if it were free. I imagine the melodies would change.
I don’t know why the caged bird sings, but I empathize with this bird. I watched my vibrant spirit take some hits in my own cage. I couldn’t get out. I was trapped becoming a less beautiful version of myself. I was in a hopeless place clinging to my last little bit of hope and I wanted to die. Now this is not to be confused with I wanted to kill myself, I didn’t. I just didn’t want to exist anymore. At least not like that. I didn’t want to stand by as the last little bit of my spirit crumbled. I didn’t sing inside my cage… I WROTE. I wrote my pain, my sadness. I wrote to heal myself. I wrote to remember the things I was grateful for because the things that tore me down were winning and that didn’t seem right when I had so much to be grateful for. I wrote to forgive even when apologies never came. I wrote to find peace… and I did.
Day by day I planned my own Shawshank Redemption. I chipped away at the people, the things, the entities that had caged me. It didn’t happen overnight. I faltered, I cried, I spent time in a psych ward, I called on my tribe and then I pushed them away. As the bars to my prison started to come down there were moments when I panicked. Fuck this freedom, this is scary. There were moments that I didn’t think I was ready so I put back up the bars that I had worked so hard to pull down. It was a battle and I was the only one fighting it.
I kept telling myself that everything was gonna be ok and I really wanted to believe that. But how can a caged bird really trust that everything is gonna be ok? They’re caged after all. The caged bird sings because their song can escape the prison. It slips right through the bars. That’s how writing made me feel. Even thought I was trapped in my mind, job, in relationships that were not worthy of my energy, when I wrote I was free. Empathy and Eyebrows set me free. It didn’t chip away at the bars, it was a full-on demolition.
I am stepping out on faith. I am ready to commit to chasing my true purpose, happiness and freedom. I believe in myself and I KNOW what I have to offer this world. It could pay me millions or it could pay me nothing… as long as I am never put back into a cage, either is fine.