The caged bird sings, with a fearful trill, of things unknown, but longed for still, and his tune is heard, on the distant hill, for the caged bird sings of freedom.
Excerpt from “I know Why The Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou.
Being held captive, in my opinion, is the worse thing any person can experience. Why? Because captivity lingers. There is something about a cage that makes us acknowledge its existence, admire those outside of it and still not kick the walls down. It’s so incredibly easy to sing songs of depression and complain. It’s so incredibly easy to miss the opportunities we have to break free and sometimes, that makes me wonder…maybe that’s why the caged bird in Maya Angelou’s I know Why The Caged Bird Sings poem sung of freedom but never thought of how to untie his feet or fly with clipped wings. Maybe that’s why she wrote of a free bird; to show us that there’s a
Captivity, sometimes, allows us to adapt to our small surroundings. We get stuck in mind frames and habits and only grow to fit the little we are exposed to; Chained to “the usual” because it’s all we’ve ever known while longing to experience the world around us. These chains are not made of steel and they do not bruise skin. They are made of denial, hurt, survival, abuse, and they bruise characters and thought processes. They bruise hope and they weigh down the possibility of change.
I think that’s what life has done to some of us. I’ve seen people duck when there were no bullets flying because that’s a life they were once forced to submit to.
We’ve been exposed to so many walls and ways of adapting to them growing up that we stop at every wall we meet and don’t think twice about it. It’s gotten to a point where we don’t even see how every morning we wake up we are set free all over again. Without even realizing it, we ask for permission from our pasts to live life today and never explore the option of thinking different, bigger and better. We’re scared of what may happen because of what once happened and that’s comfortable –or so it appears-.
We’re afraid of what we don’t know MAY work. That’s a battered and caged mentality and we will always hurt with that frame of thinking. We can’t claim we want change and still sit in the comfort insecurity and “not knowing” seem to build. There is no room to step on eggshells in fear that anything outside of what we’re accustomed to will ruin us. There’s too much greatness in you to not experience life outside of the cage.
You know that saying “…rather be safe than sorry”? It’s great for moments like popping an extra mint before a meeting after eating a bag of Doritos but when it comes to life…sometimes safe is not actually safe…sometimes it’s sorry. Sometimes, caution is not caution, it’s fear and lack of exposure.
Don’t get me wrong. I agree that being prepared is the best thing you can be but when that “safe” is birthed out of fear and not wisdom, it does not yield growth. When that “safe” is birthed out of repetition due to ignorance and not what has proven to give the best possible result there is, it aids in our becoming stagnant. It becomes the cage that we are held captive in. Crazy thing is…this cage/prison is built by our own hands. The key to being released from the cage is the knowledge…of this fact.
The harsh reality about the cage is that we’ve come to realize that we are not only the captives but the jailers as well. It’s scary and I get that. It is VERY intimidating, I won’t front. It’s like “what if I try to fly and my clipped wings won’t allow me to move let alone move fast enough? What if I get stuck while I’m out there? What if there’s a predator?” I know it all too well but what if…your feet became your way around? What if you became a track star? What if…you find new sources of protection like Christ, confidence and self-awareness? What if…you become excellent at freedom?
To you who are broken, to you who are caged, YOU have the power to break free of captivity because it is a cage you, knowing or unknowingly, put yourself in. YOU have the makings of a combination to a lock that only you can unlock in order to escape and never look back. You aren’t your parents. You aren’t your failures. You aren’t the generational curse. You can be MORE.
YOU ARE NOT DESIGNED TO SUBMIT TO A CAGED LIFE IMAGINING FREEDOM! You are born to soar in random crazy directions. Break cycles, break chains and break free!
“The free bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream till the current ends and dips his wings in the orange sun rays and dares to claim the sky.” –Maya Angelou (I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings)