38 Years a Slave

I’ve always had an inherent need to run free; wild mustangs. I’ve always had a sense of adventure; a need for it. I always felt there was so much life to be lived; explored. Oh, the sense of adventure; the yearning. I remember when I was young, I would just suddenly feel like I was literally crawling out of my skin; a reptilian shed. Wild bursts of energy would consume me; butterflies ready to take flight.

I was definitely a handful as a child; a parent’s nightmare. I would go exploring, returning home long after the last street lamp came on. I would boogie board on wooden slabs tied with a rope to the bars above the local canal. I rode my dirt bike better than most boys. When I was fourteen, I hopped on a Greyhound bus and traveled through two states just “to see the world.” I had no idea I would get caged in juvenile detention as a runaway. It was a matter of my gypsy soul unable to sit in one place for too long. I needed excitement; adventure- lest I spontaneously combust.

I remember feeling like I had to stifle these feelings. I had to harness this energy, tame it, lest I be judged as a heretic or labeled insane. I compromised that I would bend, but that I would never break.

Thirty-eight years later, I once again found myself confronted with this conundrum. I have gone with the societal “norm.” When I was in my early twenties, I chose to “grow up” and became a part of the medical field. I did not have the temperament or tolerance to work as a nurse, nor did I have the ambition to become a doctor. Medical Administration came naturally and I was good at it. I mean, really good.

With this decision, I now became a responsible, contributing adult to society. Gone were my dreams of traveling to Uganda and Rwanda to chaperone the African Children’s Choir. Gone were my dreams of traveling to Guatemala to build schools for the children: to offer them an education, hope, and a way or means for a different life. Instead I found myself chained to a desk dealing with snakes in a field waiting to strike with one misstep.

I am determined we are not all meant to be the same. There is no cookie cutter uniformity to this life- at least, there shouldn’t be. We are not all meant to walk the same path. Yet, we are all a slave to debt and the confines society shackles us with: Responsibility.

For a long time now, I have longed for a human experience. I’ve wanted to break the chains that bound me, travel the world, and experience everything this life has to offer. I want to see the beauty and feel the wonder of the world. I want to capture it all on film or in my journal. I yearn to be free.

I’ve been struggling with depression. I’ve been feeling trapped; caged: a bird whose wings have been clipped. Thirty-eight years a slave. Yet, lately more than ever, I have felt a wild energy pushing me- the universe has been calling to me- the inertia is undeniable.


Then the inevitable happened. I was separated from my place of employment where I have worked hard- every day for over a year. I have showed up, given 110% daily; felt I always had to be 3-steps ahead. It’s been daunting. It’s been exhausting. It has been crippling. Not in the sense that the work isn’t fulfilling or that it’s not a wonderful business. Rather, in the sense that my soul felt caged. I have wanted to pursue my passion as my life work. I was my own stumbling block and continued to get in my own way.

In this moment, I am excited. My soul feels free. I feel elated. I am open to all of the opportunities and the possibilities the universe has to offer. I believe and am manifesting that the universe will provide. I feel confident that my car payment will be delivered to my account monthly. I am choosing to believe (and am manifesting) in the universe and trusting that it will take care of me; it will supply me with an overabundance of what I need.

I am also f*cking terrified. What if I fall flat on my a**? What if I lose everything I have worked hard for over the past thirty-eight years? What if I am not a successful writer? What if I can’t make a difference? Shoo- self-doubt!! You have no place here!

It is past time to be true to none other than myself. I have never longed for the American Dream of making six figures, of owning multiple houses with multiple cars lining my multi-car garage. I have never dreamed of having a mansion filled with beautiful things- stuff.

I want a passport full of stamps. I want to taste and experience every culture. I want to meet every man, woman, and child. I want to hear their stories. Write them. I want to submerge myself in other people’s lives; in their culture. I want to eat their food and dance to their music.

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Author: Mary Rogers

Editor: Travis May

  • Khrystyana Perkins
    Posted at 16:16h, 14 June Reply

    Oh god I feel you on this. I feel this way too. Not only dies it shackle your soul but I feel like it smothers my creative mind and drags me into the depths of suffocating depression. You are such an amazing person, and not only do you have a beautiful soul but a great talent.

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