The Girl in the Cage

There is a girl I keep locked away. She sneaks out occasionally. You would think she would try to be quiet to avoid detection when she gets out, but this girl doesn’t know how to be quiet. This girl has opinions, and she is loud. 

Here is what I know about her: She questions everything. She is too old (she must be close to my age), but she still repeats the proverbial toddler favorite “But why?” over and over and over again. And she can be quite combative. I have tried reasoning with her, “But this is the right way.” She’s not buying it. 

She’s not on any side necessarily; she is just the perpetual devil’s advocate. 

She is a fighter but for a cause. She uses her words and her wit. She loves a healthy debate, but she also loves a not-so-healthy one if she cares enough about the topic. I have also noticed that she will admit defeat. I’ve seen her bend. I’ve seen her concede. Secretly, I think this makes her even stronger. 

I would say she hates rules, but I think that’s inaccurate. She doesn’t hate them, for hate assumes existence. Instead, she just shows them complete apathy as though they don’t exist. She goes through life breaking all the rules without shame. After all, they’re just figments of our collective imagination. 

She is a boundary pusher and a truth seeker. She doesn’t want to accept the status quo. She wants wideness and openness and space—space for conflict and resolution; openness to new thoughts and ideas; wideness of heart and mind. 

I am jealous of her. She is so free. Walls and chains cannot hold her. She doesn’t care what people think. She answers to no one but Truth and Justice. 

Truth and Justice are her parents, and they call her Rebel. 

I’ll be honest—sometimes I let her out. I unlock the door and fling it wide open. Usually when someone needs protecting, and I’m not up to the task. Usually when that someone is me. She has protected me on many occasions. Call it Stockholm syndrome, but she seems to love me. 

Other times I have kept her locked up and have taken the beating. On those days she rages in her cage. She is angry but not at me. She is angry at the four walls around her. Even though I built those walls, she is not angry at me. She is angry at the chains on her wrists. Even though I fastened those chains, she is not angry at me. She is angry because she is a part of me. 

We are one and the same. Two sides of the same girl: the Peacekeeper and the Rebel. The truth is: I am the one in the cage and she, the Rebel, is free. 

Lyndsey Amen Ribble lives in San Antonio with her husband and three sons (aged 5,4, and 1). She loves reading, writing, traveling, food (cooking it, eating it, taking pictures of it…), wine, hole in the wall anything, and forming community in unexpected places. She has a heart for bringing restoration to broken people and loving the unloved. She writes about all of these things and attempting to find balance at