In The Eagles 1977 hit single “Hotel California” Don Henley poetically sings, “We
are all just prisoners here of our own device.” During adolescent years I
constructed an allegorical prison for myself. My insecurities created the cell. My
self-hatred served as the impenetrable prison walls.
Growing up, I always felt my best was never good enough. I was always too fat,
too stupid, too ugly to ever really appreciate the present. I buried myself in
alcohol, eating disorders and self-hatred. I reveled in my self-inflicted
emotional abuse, relishing each passing moment of despair. I was always too
invested in my own warped world of malcontent to ever really analyze the pain
of those around me.
Retrospectively, I realize growing up in a middle class family, surrounded by
love and attention, allowed me the liberty to create obstacles, mainly because I
had no preexisting reservoir of my own. Like many before me, I could not stand
the notion of absolute freedom. The idea that my destiny was self-determined
was a burden I could not bear.
Shortly after my seventeenth birthday, I got sick. I was spontaneously struck
with a rare neurological disorder that most people know nothing about until a
family member or a friend starts experiencing symptoms. Abruptly, my prison
walls were no longer so indistinct. I felt trapped in my own body with no clear
way out. I was suddenly reliant on others in a way that I had never previously
experienced. Being forcibly stripped of my autonomy allowed for a great deal of
self-reflection. I fixated on my past freedom with unbridled lust. Only when I
was stripped of my independence did I realize how profoundly selfish my
former confines really were.
Throughout my childhood I hid from freedom, choosing rather to escape into
my own repugnant abyss. When it comes down to it, I definitively advocate the
embrace of absolute freedom. I believe that in the long run, our only authentic
restraints are self-imposed. Despite my preexisting emotional and physical
limitations, I realize now that my one sole obligation to my family, my
community, and possibly even more paramount, myself, is to promote a
mandate of liberty within my own life. This unadulterated sense of autonomy is
my true calling.