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  • Writer's pictureHelen Cottee

To those in cages

This is for those of you who were already feeling caged even before lockdown began.

To those of you in relationships that felt like being caged even before you were told not to leave your house, for those locked down with the person who you feel keeps you caged, for those caged by beliefs about your body, or food, or alcohol or exercise who are not lockdown with those things, or away from those things, all day. To parents who are stuck in patterns with your kids that are causing you anguish because it isn’t working – to the point of tears and needing to get away. But you can’t. To those whose faith was deconstructing, but now you’re on lockdown you are faced with old systems and the pressure to ‘behave’ again. To those in the LGBTQI community who are lockdown with people who cannot see you, do not accept you and want you to be someone you are not. To any of you who find yourself locked in with the thing that causes you to feel caged.

I am sorry. I am so so sorry this came at this time. I know this was pushing you to the edges of yourself before a global pandemic, and now it’s asking more of you that you feel you have to give. I know there are moments where you want to crawl out of your skin. You’ve probably cried a lot of tear these past 12 days. This may feel like it’s never going to end.

But one thing I believe with every ounce of my being… you can get through this. Little change by little change, you will get through. You do not have to do it all, let go of the things that don’t need to be done, find ways to stay sane… walk the dog, move to the spare room, call a family meeting, eat ice-cream. Pray or meditate or cry or call your best friend. Reach out to someone and be honest, reach out to me if you need a space to be really honest (I’m not easily shocked, and I get it).

Cages inside of cages are one of the hardest things… but here’s the truth friend. The lockdown in real, but the key to the other cage was always in your hand. Those other cages can only keep you trapped if you believe there’s no way out. Even in the shittiest moment, there are ways of removing a bar from that cage, of taking a step for your own freedom, of making choices that will bring you peace.

Start where you are, nudge yourself to the edges, refuse to give up, little by little… you can find freedom, you can re-create a new way, you can do this.

In fact, this might be the exactly conditions you needed to realise just how freaking strong you really are.

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