TL;DR: I sit here, growling. Hungry even. My bowl is right there and, yet, out of arms reach.
Originally Written: 26-Sep-2021
Word Count: 557
Read Time: 2 minutes
I wish the title of this essay could say it all, for I feel it does: context is a cage.
A cage we walk into, shut, and hold the key to at a moment's notice.
What am I talking about?
The cage we sit within when we choose not to act on our purest of desires, thoughts, and intentions in the moment.
I'm talking about inhibitions.
Inhibitions are a feeling that makes one self-conscious and unable to act in a relaxed and natural way.
They are a voluntary or involuntary restraint on the direct expression of an instinct.
For folks with that Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, ya'll know what I'm talking about.
Everyone has inhibitions, everyone.
We learn them over time as a result of how we are disciplined when growing up.
We learn them in the schoolyard when we are made fun of for wearing shorts that rise above the knee.
We learn them in the classroom when the teacher doesn't care enough about our problems to do anything about them.
And then, over time, we are tempered.
Tempered from what anyone could imagine is an infinite ball of potential into a box of rigid conformity.
A box, steeled with metal so cold, one would find it near impenetrable.
Impenetrable, to anything, but what it went into the box in the first place for: comfort.
Peace of mind that, if one doesn't express at all, then one won't be judged harshly for existing the way they do.
For taking up space.
For having needs, desires even, of my own.
OCD makes one feel like to express one's needs freely is to give oneself permission to open the cage, but only in spaces where we feel truly comfortable opening up and sharing ourselves.
It makes it so that one looks forward to the next time they are able to let themselves out of such a thing just so they can live again. One day.
We retreat then, to this cage, knowing the certainty it provides us in a world of increasing mystery and confusion.
"This cage will keep me safe."
Or maybe we think something along the lines of "this way of being will keep me safe."
This will keep me from getting hurt.
But does it?
In the short term, sure.
But what of the long term?
One feels trapped, entrenched even, within all the rules and ways of being they must embody to feel assured.
Assurance is addicting to an anxious mind, but it offers nothing.
It's the sweets of emotional validation.
Assurance is only as useful as the moment it is yielded, it is not context usable in the journey to oneself.
Neither is retreating to the cage just because you were crate-trained as a pup.
You are an animal, born of this world, and meant to interact with others.
Not meant to be cooped up and hidden, waiting to be perfect for the world to accept you.
What if all you needed this whole time to leave the cage.
What if this whole time any time you ever left the cage.
Was because of you.
Going back to the cage can feel like a calling.
But remember when your calling was to leave it?