I am a prisoner in my own damn restless and tremulous mind, shackled together by hallucinated handcuffs and thick, constricting chains that mutter a rhythmic clatter with every pacing step I take within the confines of this tormented cell. It won’t get better, I tell myself. My faint cries for help that only I can hear fade into this unforgiving dungeon’s strong and thick walls, masked by my own insecurities and rambling thoughts that tie me down like a victim of a kidnapping too marred by the emotion of fear to speak or to move. Like this victim, I lay here helpless, as my screams are blanketed by my kidnapper’s strong and relentless weight against my mouth, blocking any fragile cries for help and any potential visions of hope within these cruel and boundless cell walls. Among this deranged asylum, I see only silent shadows of other prisoners and their kidnappers hidden faintly by the darkness and my own prison bars. They, too, are trapped.
My fellow inmates and I know how to escape. What we don’t know, however, is the consequences behind saying those three simple yet ever-so-life-changing words that will forever open those prison bar doors. In those scary yet hopeful moments of considering coming out, our kidnappers remind us that our cells are our safe place. We cannot get hurt in our cells, we won’t disappoint others in our cells, we won’t embarrass ourselves in our cells, we will live normal lives in our cells, and we can work without discrimination in our cells. Yet, if you spend your life too scared of the world outside of your cell walls, you will never have the freedom to enjoy the very special, very lovely things about truly living.
I hope all my inmates find the acceptance, peace, and courage to make their escape. As they exit the prison one by one, their once-dark shadows become diminished, and the world can finally see the beautiful, eccentric colors within themselves. I smile and, with a hint of jealousy, tell myself that maybe one day my shadow, too, will disappear and my colors will shine bright.
To my fellow inmates, one day we will dig deep inside to find the strength and conviction to fight our inner demons, and somehow, in some way, defeat this kidnapper. After all, the kidnapper is only ourselves, right?
Are you ready?