Why does the caged bird sing?
I grew up in a small town. I knew early on that the world had to have more to offer than the tiny piece I was exposed to. Although the pull of the simple small town life had its appeal, the pull to explore the world was stronger. At 18 I left home and headed to college. For years I set off to live the American dream: College, job, marriage, kids, and live happily ever after. I did just that. I went to college, graduated, got a job, got married and was planning for kids. All the while I was stressed out, a functioning depressive, gained 50 pounds, and at one point on the verge of suicide. I was living the American dream, so why was I so unhappy? I was unhappy because the American dream wasn’t MY DREAM and I realized I spent 30 years of my life following someone else’s blueprint. It dawned on me that I never truly sat down and asked myself what I wanted. Subconsciously I kept letting others decide for me and would plow through it, unhappiness and all, just for the satisfaction of not failing them. I was a people pleaser. I had allowed the voices of everyone else to fill my head that I forgot about my own voice. I didn’t know what she sounded like any more. She was drowned out by everyone else. So I made a choice and took a chance at saving her. I mean why not. Maybe finding her was the cure to healing me.
At 31 years old I set on the path to freeing her. The monsters I had to face inside were massive. Child hood trauma, self hatred, the battle of religion versus my true spiritual beliefs. I tried to start on my own by finding my WHY. Why do I do some the things I do, even when I don’t want to do them, but there were to many voices so I decided to go to a Psychologist. Best decision I had ever made in my life. She gave me resources that help guide me through the voices of others and to reach my own again. I had to define and redefine a lot of things. I had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It felt lonely and dark in moments because the more I started to understand myself was when I felt so misunderstood by others. I was a growing plant that needed to be repotted but wasn’t sure if I could survive uprooting. The first time you tear yourself away from your comfort zone to grow can be scary. But I remember the feeling that 18 year old me had of being drawn to more. A whole new world opened up to me then and I embraced it. I had to do the same for myself.
There is freedom in knowing oneself. It’s an ever continuous evolving journey. So no matter what cage you find yourself in during life, you can sing because the key to escape lies within.