A Prison Sentence
I started watching OITNB from season one recently and boy did it give me a reality check.
While watching it, I kept uttering to myself I will not go to prison, not for anything, not simply because of the prison culture in itself, the mere thought of being confined to a room and striped of freedom is grave punishment enough for someone like me.
Ironically, the more I watched it, the more I started to think, are we really that different? One of the characters said and I paraphrase, the only difference between you and I, is that when I did bad things I didn’t get caught-I think some of us can attest to that.Some of us are one good/ bad decision away from a life changing moment.
I looked around my current settings and examined what made me any different to them? They had a room, I have a room, they weren’t at liberty to do what they wanted when they wanted, I am… but was I truly? I pondered on whether the choices I made every day were reflective of the life I truly wanted to live- the answer is a resounding no.
Many of us are living out a prison sentence and we don’t even know it. We have become incarcerated by our past, fears, habits and perspectives.
I’d be the first to admit that one of my fears was created and built upon solely by me. I built a mansion out of it (I think I’m a pretty good architect, ok probably not a good thing in this sense). It started off small, but every day I added to it and before I knew it, it was colossal. I berated myself and made constant comparisons of myself to others and over time it reached a point that I was “in fact” useless. I have since recognised that this is not true and is something I work on daily to undo the damage I had caused for all those years.
Every day we write the next chapter in our lives by what we tell ourselves, cemented further by what we do. Picture this, you have a bouquet of beautiful flowers and we know that in order for it to last long enough, we have to nurture it. Assuming you don’t water it, give it the necessary light or feed it its prescribed plant food, by the end of two weeks, you will have no doubt , a vase of withered and lifeless flowers. Is there any way of reviving this and bringing it back to its full former glory? I am yet to see this happen. You need to be nurtured every single day, it is your principal duty ,not anyone else’s to feed, water and nourish yourself.
Be mindful of what you listen to, what you watch and who you allow to influence your life, the impact on your mental state is more than you realise.
I remember being about 11 years old and constantly hearing from my school peers that a girl having a muscular physique was unattractive, especially having defined calf muscles. I happened to fit that bill and for the longest while, I would go to great lengths to conceal my body for risk of being called something that I was not. At about 17 I had one person say to me you have nice legs (If my head could have spun around, it would have) and that it was something they found attractive, “what?!” Needless to say that was the beginning of me embracing myself and showing ‘the finger’ to those people, which might I add aren’t doing so well and are desperately hitting the gym *Does shoulder shimmy*.
To mentally emancipate yourself, it will require a daily dose of restructuring, from what you visually see, hear, do and tell yourself. For every thought you don’t wish to embody, you must PRACTICE counteracting it with something you do want. We talk and focus SO much on everything we don’t want and end up creating more of that very same thing -Whatever marinates, you generate. Listen what do you have to lose? You’ve spent your whole life living it mentally and physically unhappy, why not do something different and be on course for something more enriching?
Anything worth it must be maintained, otherwise you will lose it and this applies to everything! When you stay at a 4/5*hotel room, you expect it to be well-kept, comfortable, and luxurious even. For it to be that way, it is sustained by a team of expert cleaners, who laboriously clean the rooms, every single day. It should of course look and feel brand new. Suppose the cleaners and maintenance team don’t attend to their daily duties, when you visit, in what state should you expect to find the room in? The same respect should be given to yourself.
A thought in order to become a habit must be reinforced by action- ‘Think’ inside out. Anything is possible 🙂