Not too long ago I posted about a car accident I was in. Most people don’t know that that happened to me. In real life, that is. Honesty is what I always wanted here and I want to continue that. I feel that I have. The accident left me with a scar on my face. Maybe an inch long. Only noticeable to me but it is there. I wear it.
However, I was also in a wheelchair for about a year. I see pictures now and I don’t see what others see. The pain, the sadness, and the pity seem unwarranted to me. I remember those times. I felt empowered as I pushed my body in this metal-wheeled contraption everywhere. I remember feeling like half of a robot. Basically I was a nerd. Now that I look back it may have been a coping mechanism but I really thing it was ignorance. I was not old enough to understand that I was temporarily disabled. That I was incapacitated somehow. I felt normal and alive. I mean, what other kids got around in a chair with massive wheels. I mastered that thing. I made it mine.
That was a long time ago.
I think back to being confined in the wheelchair. Half of my lower body was in a cast and I saw only opportunity. Only how cool it was to be able to maneuver the chair the way I could. I was unable to see the walls. Those walls we all have around us. They box us in. Each nut and bolt is made from those materials in life that cut deep. The things we learn to live with.
It’s funny in a way, if you think about it. I was imprisoned by my own body. Walk on the street and all around you are prisoners. One inmate is imprisoned by addiction, the other by depression.
Inmate 376590: Imprisoned due to crippling debt.
Inmate 117589: Imprisoned due to the death of a loved one.
Inmate 555639: Imprisoned due to body image issues.
We all have our cells. What about those few? The Andy Dufresnes of the world that are somehow liberated. They seem freer than us. They seem like they have escaped their prison.
We may be held in a cell but we don’t have to be prisoners. I try not to. It doesn’t always work. Sometimes the walls feel closer than ever. Yet, I don’t feel like a prisoner. This cell we all have, we made. It is made up of pieces of ourselves in the deepest recesses. In its entirety, it is supermassive. Monolithic. However, you can move from that cell if you deconstruct it. If you take the pieces apart, you see that the cell was one made of paper and not steel.
That is a secret that I knew as a child. That all children know instinctually.
The free know it as well.
Those paper-thin walls tear away once you realize that they cannot hold the human spirit.
We live in cells, but, when we examine them to see the paper, we are liberated and instead of living we come alive.
Inmates no more.