A Perfect Prison
By: Kathy
August 31, 2011


I am a prisoner.  My cell is my fear – fear of saying the wrong thing, doing the wrong thing, writing the wrong words, having the wrong opinion.  What is it that makes a person live their entire life in a prison of fear?  My prison is called perfection – I hate it and I want out.

In my cell, I am pinned in by perceived criticism, judgment, different viewpoints, opinions, values.  I am in hiding for fear that, out in the world, someone will see something about me that is not pleasing or good and they will imprison me all over again.  That constant ebb and flow between freedom and imprisonment is what terrifies and paralyzes me.  At least when I am safely tucked in my cell, I can avoid the dark armies that lurk in the shadows and threaten to drag me back behind my bars.  Out in the world, I am still incarcerated if I am constantly looking over my shoulder in fear.

Out of prison, I would be free!  I would be free to be who I am, to express my thoughts, my beliefs, my opinions, my faults, fears, failures, my hopes, my dreams, my feelings – without judgment.  I saw a movie years ago that I loved called ‘Living Out Loud’.  While the movie was excellent, especially for co-dependent women who have lost themselves in their marriages, the title has always stuck with me because I want so desperately to be able to live out loud!  I want to walk around and breathe freely while being completely open in this world.  I want to live without fear of rejection.

To have this freedom, what needs to change?  Do I need everyone around me to suddenly approve of everything I do and say?  Impossible!  Do I need to learn how to be more perfect?  Nonsense – can’t do it (I’ve tried, believe me!)  I need to change something within myself.  I need to accept my OWN opinions, beliefs, hopes dreams and know that not everyone is going to agree with me.  I need to give MYSELF permission to make mistakes and be less than perfect.  I need to be intimately aware of who I am and what I believe in and I need to be okay with that.

Oh, what could I have achieved had I not lived my life shackled by my own need to be perfect?  It is a prison of my own making.  I can’t change that I’ve lived far too many years locked in my dingy cell, but every morning I can make a choice between spending another day cell-bound or climbing over the walls and drinking in the air of sweet freedom.

For today, I choose freedom. . .