Today as I was watching Captain Jack Sparrow in the most recent installment of Pirates of the Caribbean, I reflected on what about that tale was so attractive. Was it Johnny Depp? The Black Pearl? Geoffrey Rush? For some people, like my girls, those are the top three attractions. I think it’s something deeper that calls to us through the tale: Freedom.
The movie is a brief escape into a world in which each person can be his or her true self, disregarding cultural acceptance or worldly possessions. It is a place where women can choose to be beautiful, smart, powerful — AND accepted among her peers. In the tale, men can choose to follow their hearts AND their heads, fight whatever battles they choose, and defy stereotypes. I can already hear dissenters telling me that Pirates is only a movie; my views include rose-colored glasses in a land of pink ponies and unicorns.
I think of the people I know who already live by their own rules: my darling husband who defies cultural convention to live the way that he feels is right, my esteemed and dear colleague who is a self-acknowledged pirate, and my priest who seeks truth and guides other to question what many of us take for granted. What is it I admire about each of them? It is their acknowledgement of their responsibilities, the devotion to their families, and the absolute determination to do what they feel is right. In other words, they are pirates as much as Captains Sparrow and Barbosa.
As I consider my life, the times of which I am the most proud are when I have engaged in piracy. That entails the times:
- When I have been true to myself, despite anyone else’s opinion
- When I have pursued a dream in the face of other people’s derision
- When I have taken a risk, knowing the outcome is uncertain but following my heart anyway
- When I have braved insurmountable odds for something that I know is right
What would our world be like if we could all be our own pirates? We might have a happier, perhaps less predictable, world. We might have fewer people living lives of quiet desperation and conformity to some ideal that they did not create. We might have more smiles. There would definitely be more rum!
Take a chance– be your own pirate. What’s the worst that could happen?
Sing it with me: Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate’s life for me!