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The Caged Bird

Maya Angelou, in one of her most noteworthy poems, wrote about a caged bird; the caged bird is a perfect analogy of a trapped individual. Often times we find ourselves trapped in metaphorical cages, whether of our own volition or due to unforeseen circumstances. These cages could be anything from relationships, to careers, to significant life choices. Perhaps what is most alarming about these cages is that, without meaning to, we forget that they exist. We become so accustomed to the iron bars that surround us and the shackles that bind us that we stop seeing them. Our cages become almost second skin to us, and because we have become so comfortable in this cage we grow/increase in size and not in mind, we park the dreams and vision for our life, and settle for mediocrity. We roost on the bones and shadows of our 'might-have-beens,' feasting on the worms of 'it's-not-so-bad.' In essence, we unwittingly help the cage fulfil it purpose--keeping us caged so that our potential is forgotten. 

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams   

his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream   

his wings are clipped and his feet are tied   

so he opens his throat to sing.

Signs of a Caged Bird

1. You are part of the "someday" band: Your greatest hits are encores and covers of the song, "maybe one day." You procrastinate and push aside any form of aspiration, choosing only to examine it in the future (maybe!)

2. You are constantly stuck in your head: You think a lot but do very little, preferring to live vicariously through your daydreams rather than pursue any. This might be as a result of various factors, including fear, uncertainty, and disbelief in one's ability.

3. You downplay consistently: Whether it is your ability, your knowledge base, your skill set, even hidden talents that may be as small as solving Rubik cubes or as grand as learning obscure language, you consistently downplay them! You don't want the spotlight on you or what you're able to do, so you downplay everything before anyone is able to pick interest.

4. You are best pals with the green-eyed monster: Jealousy and envy are the altars on which you worship the god of mediocrity. You are constantly focused, if not obsessed, with the lives of other people, always concluding that their lives are better, richer, more fun, just more than yours is. Because of this, you are first in line to criticize people who are successful or people who are chasing after their dreams; you are quick to find flaws, however small, in what they do or who they are.

Reflect upon your life.....Are you a caged bird? Have your wings lost their meaning and purpose? Do you even realize that you were made to fly and not to flock? 

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