When Ordinary Life Shackles Me

“I must fling myself down and writhe; I must strive with every piece of force I possess; I bruise and batter myself against the floor, the walls; I strain and sob and exhaust myself, and begin again, and exhaust myself again; but do I feel pain? Never. How can I feel pain? There is no place for it.”
― Harry Houdini


What does the word ‘broken’ mean to you?

What images does it conjure up in your mind’s eye?

Can you see it?

Can you feel it?

Can you capture it?

For me the word ‘broken’ conjures up breaking free from constraints. Whenever something breaks, whether it is within me or outside of me, I experience a sense of release, of freedom. Even if I was attached to something fragile which I wish had not broken. I am now free from the ties which bound me to it, which made me fear the possibility of it breaking, and live bound to that fear.


“If I am what I have, and I lose what I have, who then am I?”
― Erich Fromm


Breaking free from the constraints of life is one of the guilty pleasures of living.

Modern life can feel as though it shackles us to things, ideas, or ideas of things, and what having those things and ideas can give us.

Want freedom? Then bind yourself to the pursuit of it which will never give you what you pursue because to obtain it you have to encumber yourself with its accessories.

That’s the concept I had in mind when I offered myself up as the background for the image whose subject is the shackles, which Stephen and I collaborated on for – Something Broken.





Stephen was in charge of taking the shots, and what happened to them once they were taken. When he shared the final photograph with me, I felt constrained by having to have an opinion about it.

I wanted, yet again, to break free rather than be broken by the shackles of needing to choose between to like or not to like.

Sometimes I am in the in between. Ambiguously ambidextrous about opinion. The escape artist’s preferred status.

However, in this case, I love it!


“Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls.”
― Anaïs Nin


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