She Flew the Coop

Alicia Lutes
3 min readSep 20, 2021
“Brains in cages” by Kevin Hutchinson is licensed under CC BY 2.0

I’ve built a cage around myself, one I’ve cobbled together from what I have interpreted as other people’s desires for my behaviors to be; from things I assume and/or intuited from their actions. A structure erected by my own overthinking. It is a stunningly metallic feature, sculptural by accident, a dazzling feast for the eyes. I’ve rendered it beautifully, taking care — though frenetically — to weld it together extravagantly, making it a marvel to see.

And in it I am trapped.

It’s like I live outside my body. My soul swings from the varying metallic parts of this beaux-arts beauty surrounding me; the winding, curling, intricately laced and latticed metalwork of my coop has become downright Escherian. I fling myself from one arm of it to the next with every action or reaction, trying to find a sensible route towards a most favorable outcome (whatever that means).

Until, that is, I get caught in between, wedged and unable to remove myself — here is where I panic and crumble. Here is where I open up old scars and create brand new ones. My defense mechanisms and methodology of behaviors have become the most magnificent trap, both for me and the people around me. This framework is self-sabotaging. And right now I’m determined to break free.

A long time ago, this cage did truly protect me, keeping me safe and secure against a confusing, chaotic, and unforgiving world. But it did so at the cost of my own thoughts and free will and a sense of love for myself; my own desires and feelings were tossed aside in the name of keeping the peace, or hoping somebody would stick around when they didn’t want to — sadness and insecurity are what built the bindings and soldered the joints. Pretty soon it became gargantuan and unwieldy.

I thought it would all make sense when it was finished, in the very least to me. Sort of like how you feel before you clean up your room. You know where everything is in a way that makes sense, but it is really working for you or just something you’ve come to learn to accept? Is the utter chaos of your reality just a pretty distraction from what it is you truly need, namely, yourself?

I need to break free.

I don’t want to dismantle the cage in which I live, because doing so is hard work, but in the end I need to. I have to break…

Alicia Lutes

Professional numpty & flibbertigibbet