I found myself overthrown, re-programmed, and rebooted. Unwarranted upgrades. Now controllable. Capable of being tracked. Operating inside a shell I could no longer control. It was as if I was a passenger on the very airplane I was a pilot for, all my life. Relinquished of my autonomy. I was now property of the people, for the people, and nothing else mattered: not even my own survival.

I coasted along, smiling unintentionally. Even when faced with threats or inequality, this shell only wanted to please people. I screamed frantically from the inside. Yelling all of the reasons why bullying was unacceptable. Screaming how I’ve earned just as the same as my peers. Yet only fragmented words escaped the automated mouth of the shell, and I was left feeling more helpless than previously before.

The shell endured all of the verbal and physical abuse I probably would have, had it not been for this transplantation. As the days went on, my sorrow grew. Tears streamed my face. I cried for the shell that was carrying hidden cargo. My mind expanded. Confusion increased. Why were there so many people trying to take my happiness from me? My shell? It appeared that the more individuals that lost their own inner light, the more that tried to steal mine. Why make someone else feel the very sorrow you’re trying to escape? Why inflict the very pain you’re trying to subdue and numb: warping a reality you only dream to escape from?

One day, the sun began to rest from the sky, we proceeded to the power down quarters: a heavily secured place many die trying to escape. Your shell charges and you’re “free” to recount the events of the day. In a cell. In hell. Contemplating the risks of staying and being disgusted or taking your chances with the other side of life. They needed to be stopped: the creators of these shells. The people who manage to be let in when we, I, doubt our capabilities.

I plotted. Researched. Drew upon the knowledge I had in my reserves. There had to be a way to re-program myself back to the version I previously was. To regain control. I pondered for hours until it hit me. The very manifestation of the shell is what we believe ourselves to be based on others. Somewhere, somehow, I lost my will to be an individual. To stand in the downpour of toxic rain that was created by the poisonous projections of others with no umbrella. To exist beyond the status-quo and relish in adversity. To be all the things I wished to receive and dared to dream.

I once believed in a system, in people, that only proved to not have my best interest at heart. They never cared about my inner most thoughts nor my success. These individuals mastered the craft of continuously creating inception that only further caused my own self-dismantlement. It’s no wonder why the shell took over and I was put on pause. I needed to truly see the world, individuals, for what it was. Not everyone was bad, however, I definitely needed to re-access some personal and professional dynamics.

Certainly, the Lord will guide me, where I need to go. They tried to bring me down but no longer will I lay helplessly on the ground. Surrendering my dreams. Depleting the light within. Standing by as injustice occurs over, and over again. Allowing myself to be easily made the assailant when I’m the victim. No, I’m no longer a victim. Individuals can only take what they won’t from you if you let them.

The shell began to de-materialize from my self-proclaimation of returning to who I was, who I was meant to be. Restored with individuality. Reminded that I don’t have to be afraid and the darkness will fade for as long as I allow the light to continue to shine, even in the worst of times, I can make it through the rain. No umbrella. With an umbrella. Alone. With Krakens. Try to bring me down and you’ll easily find I’ll sail out of your reach. Swiftly approaching the distant horizon of your vision because I don’t need anymore re-programming or unwarranted “upgrades.” I don’t need to be in a shell, much less a shell I haven’t created. All because others feel I should be what they envision me to be. They already have a life to control, re-program, and upgrade all they want. I’m already limited edition and you will learn to respect it: rather you like it or not.

  • Alex N. Wanderland