There’s something magical about releasing oneself from the predictable, “safe”, and usual into the ambiguity, excitement, and risk of freedom. I only know this because I’m exposing myself to this freedom more and more every day. For us who have rarely, if ever, launched out into freedom’s waters it’s like riding a rollercoaster…we “oooo” and “aaaaahh” and wonder what it will feel like to take the riveting twists and turns because it looks so exciting from the “safe place”. We might even convince ourselves to wait in the line and step onto the ride. Get excited about the slow and steady ascent into “God only knows”…ooooonly to find ourselves wondering what the HEYULL we were thinking, once our neck snaps back at the first unanticipated turn of events on this new adventure. Others, who are accustomed to and prepared for the sneaky twists, laugh at us and shake their heads because they’ve learned that freedom really means piloting their own course, while understanding that there will still be turbulence but they are fully confident that they will also reach their intended destination safely.
Nevertheless, ask any right-minded prisoner which they would choose, and s/he will tell you that freedom is the obvious choice all day long. Yeah, “knowing” that 3 meals a day will be served, living indoors and being protected from the elements, with a regimented schedule has its own comforts because no thought or planning is required and the end of each day is pretty much known. But the freedom to create a new outcome every single day, with myriad possibilities of life and living is a luxury worth the premium price of a little anxiety and a few “unknowns” which are bound to come.
So how does one create this freedom (because we CAN “create” freedom, from wherever we are)? I guess it’s different for each person, but for me the first step is to release myself from the box of people’s perceptions of who I am and/or should be…even my own. And, don’t get me wrong, this is much easier said than done…or so it feels. It’s easy to flippantly say “I don’t give a f*ck about what people think”…but quite another to actually face a person or situation in this new space who “knew me when” that wasn’t the case.
Owning my freedom is about more than having a new mantra or slogan, but about actually owning ME. This includes all that I am, as well as all that I am not…for better or for worse. It is literally entering into covenant with myself to love, honor, and trust…MYSELF. And not turning my back on myself and what is true for me and wherever I am on my journey, because someone that I esteem(ed) in a certain way viewed me in a different light and so I attempt to keep up that image rather than bear the nakedness of my truth.
Because my life started in such a tumultuous manner, and I experienced so many tragedies I learned to actually seek out hope. I can find possibility and “dawn” in even the darkest of dark nights. I became adept at this because it just didn’t make sense to be consumed by the darkness…although I almost gave in a couple of times. But picking up this trait in this manner also came with the handicap of not being able to (or probably just not wanting to) face reality for what it is. It comes at the cost of having the tendency to sweep major and glaring issues under the bed and just put a nice quilt over it, and hope that nothing that was swept under there was still living (and growing and festering, just waiting to slither its way back out). This meant living in fear or being “found out” or uncovered, unraveled, and undone.
But there is freedom in truth…no matter how “ugly” it may be. There is liberty in being honest about my fears and insecurities. Understanding is no longer held hostage once the facade is released and the true reality is revealed for what it is. Is it convenient? Never. Does it sometimes stink? Depends on how long it’s been smoldering. When things have been kept wrapped up for decades, they tend to be pretty fucked up when they’re uncovered…but that’s the only way healing can come. Keeping things covered up only lends itself to infection and death, because no treatment can reach it. The fresh air of new perspective can only come and hit it once the bandages of despondency and shame are ripped off. Yes, it hurts but it’s only temporary. And I’m DAILY talking myself out of covering it back up and slipping back into a cozy emotional coma. Because although it doesn’t “have” to take forever, I’m learning that healing from trauma is a maintenance program rather than one-time purchase and one that requires patience and damn near supernatural grace.
I’m also finding that this ownership comes in waves, stages, rounds, and levels. I kinda liken it to receiving an inheritance. It would be easy to “blow it”, by not knowing what to do with it coming all at once…especially without already being accustomed to the freedom. But mine seems to be on a time-released schedule. As I’m digesting and processing more of who I am, more understanding comes and I’m better able to make decisions regarding who and how I choose to be. I believe that the core of me is untouchable, and my raw and essential self flavors and colors all that I’m creating. I’ve sensed this from a very young age. But my palate hasn’t quite matured or acquainted itself enough to handle all of my own true divinity. But I’m getting there…