“You’ve Got Time” by Regina Spektor
Fans of “Orange is the New Black” will recognize this as the opening theme from the hit Netflix Original Series. The show deals with the ins and outs of the day-to-day life of inmates in a women’s prison, and the lyrics are right on target:
“The animals, the animals, trapped, trapped, trapped ‘till the cage is full.”
“In the dark, count mistakes.”
“You’ve got time.”
The song is catchy, and being a fan of Regina Spektor, I didn’t hesitate to download the song. But as I repeatedly listened to it (as I tend to do with any new favorite song), I felt the words not only applied to a physical prison, but also an abstract.
The majority of people will, at some point in their lives, experience high and low points. Some of us, however, experience lows so deep we’re not sure we’ll ever have another high point. Perhaps we believe we deserve the low. Maybe we’ve failed so catastrophically we think we don’t deserve another happy day. Why should we be given good things? We begin to feel the prison doors of our own emotions slowly slamming shut on our freedom and joy.
Internally we become like animals trapped in a cage. The door is locked tight and there is no hope for escape. At night, we sit in the darkness, dwelling on every possible mistake contributing to our current dilemma. We create for ourselves a cell, and in this cell we serve our time. More time than necessary in some cases.
My favorite part of the song:
“Think of all the roads;
Think of all their crossings;
Taking steps is easy;
Standing still is hard.”
Life is full of crossroads. There are times in life where we may come to a crossroads several times in the span of a week. Other times, life may give us more time before reaching the point of critical decision making.
Either way, those crossroads are easier when we believe we can take steps forward; when we feel we have some sort of control. But what about those times when we are in “prison”? When we are paralyzed by the reality of our circumstances? What then? Standing still is hard…
Personally, my life has had some wonderful highs. The best three are named Sarah, Samantha and Danielle; my beautiful girls. I’m sure I’ll share more about them at some point in my writings and ramblings.
However, I’ve experienced some dark, intense lows in my years. I’ve been trapped in a cage, counting mistakes in the darkness, serving my time in an emotional prison not necessarily always of my own making. There were many times I believed I would die before I felt happy again. I hated the way I felt because it seemed I had so much to be thankful and happy about, so why couldn’t I just walk out of my cell and embrace life and the joy it had to offer? Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple for many of us.
My hope in writing is that maybe someone out there who is feeling the same despair might read something here and find hope…a little light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe my survival experience can help; and maybe that’s enough to bring someone a little closer to leaving their prison behind…