The Unlocked Cage

Dylan Stewart


I remember a life long ago… feeling trapped. Lost, stuck, alone. Frozen by fear. Scared motionless in a life that no longer felt like mine.

Every moment was torture. I was sure the beasts outside that door would pounce on me at any moment and rip me limb from limb. Fear had me trapped. Fear had me stuck. Fear had me on the run.

I was trapped.

  • Trapped by my preconceived notions.
  • Trapped by my limiting beliefs.
  • Trapped by my culture, my society and my small perspective of the world.

I couldn’t change, couldn’t move, couldn’t shift, and sure as hell couldn’t leave.

We’ve all been there before. And don’t pretend you haven’t. Stuck. In a rut. In a loop. In a dead-end job, in a dead-end relationship, in a cycle of internal torment. Your own personal torture chamber.

For me it’s happened many times. I remember the job that I hated, that I had to keep to pay for my daughter’s food, to pay for my rent, to put gas in my car and milk in the fridge. A horrible job with no future.

I’ve been in a few relationships like that. Relationships where the love was long gone, and only the fear of being alone kept me pretending and pushing forward. Playing house, with a relationship that felt more like a roommate than a lover.

I’ve been trapped into believing that the life I was living was as good as it could get. I was afraid to try for more, afraid to push outside of my comfort zone  and lose everything I had. So I stayed stuck. Trapped. Frozen.

Like a lion pacing inside a cage in a zoo, all hope of the escape gone, all memories of freedom a distant thing in the back of my mind… I paced, staring at the bars, and wishing things could be different, but knowing they never would be.

And yet who had locked me into the cage, who had kept me there? If I had only reached my hand out, I would’ve seen that the doors were unlocked. The bars were nothing more than my imagination… and it was only fear… fear that held me in, and doubt that held me down.

How in the world did it get so bad, how did it get so dark, how did I get so lost?

I forgot…

I forgot that I have power. I forgot that I have the choice. I forgot that I am free.

How can one forget freedom? The freedom that was fought for. The freedom that we take for granted. Years ago, our ancestors fought on foreign shores. Gave their lives for our freedom. And yet we sit in front of our TV watching Netflix, bemoaning our existence, and pretending that we have no choice.

It’s a lie.

I am free. You are free. We live in the land of the free. And thank God for that! Because now, it’s not some oppressive villain, it’s not some foreign power, it’s not some outside influence… It’s just you.

It’s just you that gets to choose whether you want to live trapped or live free.

You get to define freedom, or decide the wallpaper in your personal torture chamber… whichever you prefer.

We are free to choose, free to believe, free to change…

Or free to stay right where we are, feeling sorry for ourselves. Beating ourselves up. Complaining and suffering…

So much suffering.

The suffering goes on and on and on like the traffic on the 405. Coming from every direction, with a million different voices, beating down on our heads… our bodies… our backs…

But we are free.

Free to continue to suffer, or free to shake it all off like a few flakes of snow that landed on our hair. Shake it off like forgotten memories. Like a nightmare that you’re thankful to wake up from.

Every day, every moment, every second freedom is your birthright.

So why do we choose to suffer? Why do we stay trapped? Why do we choose to not make a choice?

Because freedom doesn’t come easily. Choosing to be better, choosing to get out from underneath your pain and suffering requires you to wake up, look around and make a decision.

You have to decide on what you want. What you’re willing to fight for. And then you actually have to get up and fight for it.

Being trapped, being a slave, being a victim… sitting there and wishing you could be different. Sitting there and dreaming about how everybody else has a better life. Sitting there, on your butt, feeling sorry for yourself is easy. Feeling bad is easy. But doing something with that pain… that’s where the power lies.

And you are free… To be free or to be trapped. Whatever you choose.

But think of the freedom, think of what was fought for, think of what it could be like if you would take ownership of it. Your freedom wraps around you like a superhero’s cape. Waiting for you to point the way so it can help you shoot into the direction of your dreams!

I am free to live a life unknown and unrealized by the common man. I am free to experience things emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually from which many others run. I am free to delve deep into my mind, and my imagination, and build castles in the sky. Build an opus of the adventures I will lead and live.

I am free to explore the expanses of this world and the next…

Is it time you joined me?

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