The cave is there. I was born in it. I did everything in this cave. I slept. I ate. I learned. I played. I cleaned. I organized. This cave was everything to me. But, at a very young age I had wanted to leave the cave. I wanted to leave the bears that cared for me. I wanted to care for myself. To be able to hunt for myself. To build shelter for myself. To make friends with the other bears my size.
The older bears told me I couldn’t. Then all the bears in the cave started to fight all the time. It didn’t get better when we moved into a much bigger cave. It seemed that the silence was a mask for the loudness that would eventually come. It was like every bear lived in their own separate cave rather than a communal one. Some bears got sick. A mental affliction of a disease and/or a physical one. It didn’t matter which one it was. While they got sick, I did too. I stayed in the cave more and more. I hated the world outside and attached myself to comedic and visually stimulating fantasy worlds. I wasn’t getting smarter than the bears my age. I started to regress and become a fly on the wall. I did what I thought I had to do. I did bad things that wouldn’t have gotten me eaten by predators, but equally just as terrible. I did some good things, but none altruistic in intent. I left others when things got tough because I had been left in similar vulnerable states. Why did you leave me? I would ask questions, but never get answers. This frustrated me. I started to blame the other bears more easily for anything that my mind could think of. The sickness spread. This made life harder to live in the gigantic cave. When I left the cave for the first time, (into another, smaller cave) I remember crying my first night away. I wonder if this was myself saying goodbye to the bears. Maybe it was my level of abandonment towards them. Maybe I felt sad that they were so far away. How could they function without me? After all, they are old sick bears. When the time came, they proved me right.
When I moved back to the enormous bear cave, I was unhappy. The sickness in the cave smelled the same. It had always felt wrong. Never different. I made routine with poor choices and minimal progress on my own life. After all, I was just doing what I thought I had to do. There was no heart in any of it. I put no vibrancy in my own life when I lived in that massive cave. Then something came. An idea. An idea that I proposed, but will never be acknowledged for.
The other bears and I moved into a smaller cave after the idea was set in place. The tension was just as high. The fights were almost always imminent. There was currency in the shape of tigers and gorillas thrown around by the bears. But it didn’t matter. We had to move out of that caveman’s palace.
I wish that I had left my first cave a long time ago and defied the older, wiser bears. Now I am becoming an old bear living in a third cave with the same bears. A cave where I do everything and nothing all at once. A lame cave. But I need to help the forest and other bears too. I walk to the river every day. I look at my reflection. I decide if I am worthy enough for my own cave. Have I gathered enough skills to go out into this forest and make my own life? Do I know what I want? Do I know how to fight for it? I plan to abandon my lazy ways of smacking flying salmon out of the same river and decide to go ahead and get them through tactics and intelligence. It won’t be easy, but I know that the journey is worth it. So many caves…
(as opposed to “Fin.”)
“To the praying Mother and the worried Father
Let your children go
If they come back they’ll come home stronger
And if they don’t you’ll know”
-“The River” by Good Charlotte
Note: There are a few reasons why I like this song, but mainly this single quote is my favorite. This story is not meant to be a whiny insight to my life with “the older bears,” but rather about a “metaphorical” cave that had kept myself from expanding out into the world. That is all for now.