On a random whim, I went to the zoo. Zoos are already sad but on days with a high of 25 degrees Fahrenheit and snow on the ground, even worse.
The animals seemed slow and tired and most of them were sequestered away indoors.
I spent a lot of time in the elephant barn because it was warm and elephants are graceful and just emit this wisdom from their all watching black eyes. But maybe I am making this up.
They were in a space way too tight for their mammoth frames. Bars cut their bodies in half from my view. One elephant, Tasha was alone because she was rumored to be a bit of a “bully” according to the zookeeper.
And I thought: I’d be pissed as fuck too if I was trapped in a place that toned down my bigness and fed me stupid carrots and kids gawked at me and I really wasn’t into the other elephants I was around.
And then I thought: maybe that’s why I’m pissed in some ways too. Because there is something wild and weird and spontaneous inside that I keep shut up. Maybe we both just want to be free, maybe we just need more space. Maybe we’re not bullies after all.
I left the exhibit with a heavier chest and heart but it helped me to really see something I’ve been dancing around my entire life: the cost of not being free. Of trying to downplay my bigness.
I don’t know my next move. I’m learning right now to just be with this question and to open up to the wild, sometimes illogical impulses that seem to be calling to me.
May you find space to let yourself be as big and wild and messy and you as possible. Especially in a world that rewards Good Girls and Quiet, Non-Complaining Black and Brown People.
For me, I am tired of the inner and outer bars.
I am ready to be inwardly Free.