“Any place you never leave is a prison.”
I don’t recall where I read the quote or who wrote it – but it has staying power. It’s been haunting me since I read it – making me think about all the ways in which I allow myself to be imprisoned.
Back in my college days, I had the embarrassing notion that if I landed a job with a company large enough to have their own cafeteria in the building, I’d have “made it.” Maybe my small town roots made me settle for such a pathetic goal. Maybe I’d just not done enough living outside of the system at the time to know bigger dreams. When I landed that job, I quickly realized it was nothing more than an institution, just like high school, complete with shitty cafeteria food.
Nowadays, I find the thought of cranking away at a desk one of the most torturous ways to spend my life. And whether I’m going to the office or just running errands on the weekend, when I go through my getting-ready routine and hop on the train to go wherever… I find myself thinking “this is a prison I’ve chosen.”
When I’m mindlessly skimming through potential mates on the latest dating app or thinking about what pic I should post on Instagram – I’m begrudgingly participating simply because I’m here, and even though my heart’s not fully in it, I still want to be part of the game. But I know, this too, is a prison I’ve chosen.
I’ve written before about my deep desire for freedom. I think what I really mean by freedom is that I want my soul to be freed from participating in a world where I am going through the motions for the sake of obligation to social norms. Sometimes I wish my spine had a zipper and the real me could crawl out of this prison I’ve opted into and I could live the truth and be the totally fucking free, happy, weird, wonderful person that lives inside this body, this routine, this city, and these obligations.
It is time to break free from the prison of “I have to…” Give an amen if you hear me!
Musical pairing to enhance your reading pleasure: