Pouring over me like liquid iron, cultural expectation’s made me sluggish and muddled, but it’s more than that. It’s a cage in which the lion tamer employs debt and labor in place of chair and whip. Each day I tell myself that I am tough and capable, that I can handle whatever life puts in front of me, but that’s just a fairy tale, a subconscious narration told to get me through, and my captors even gave me the language I use, the language I love.
As the iron hardens around my knees, I learn about the world through advertisements and second hand stories, from people who are nothing like me, and just when I think I’ve got a foothold of understanding in this insane world, crack!
“Get back to work!” the tamer says. So I do, because I rely on food and water to survive, and I am programmed to survive, and those in power know it well. Manipulated and forced to serve, I do these jobs that mean less than nothing, not only to me but in the grander scheme.
I look around on my way to work at all the fancy cars all doing the same thing, and I wonder if it ever truly brought anyone peace. Am I the only one disillusioned? As the exhaust from our collective travel rises into the atmosphere, I wonder if anyone else knows that there’s a better way.
As the molten metal rises to my chest, I am reminded of matters of the heart. Love at least is real, isn’t it? Even in romance my owners coax my unconscious. Just buy her flowers and chocolates and jewelry. Then she will love you. But in my day dreams I walk with her, talk with her, and gently touch her cheek. I wonder if the power people ever loved anything but control.
“Get back to work! I won’t tell you again.” the tamer says, this time with a list of regulations further influencing my behavior. With my heavy head hanging low, I saunter back to my post, dreaming of an end to this story. I perform my duties well, before eagerly rushing back to my cage, my mailbox full of bills.
Finally, I am completely overwhelmed, a statue of a slave. A pillar in this community of free men. I did my part, and I contributed to a community that wants nothing more than toys. In my final thoughts I wonder if I will be judged, not for actions perceived as sins, but rather for not becoming a martyr for a cause I believe in. Will I be looked upon with disdain because I continued to do their bidding instead of denying myself food and drink so that the rest of the world may see a different course, a better way, instead of just another shiny statue of some soldier.