Freedom Weekend

Today is the 4th of July, and the plentiful, usually illegal fireworks continue to go off (and, if experience is any guide, will continue to do so until about 1-2am). It’s Independence Day, the original Brexit, and I’m making it about me.

There are all sorts of freedom, and in this life and this place, it means more than I think we realize. Freedom should be something that everyone has and many think it’s a human right, but there are so many who do not have it in a sense. I can’t speak for those war-torn cities where terror is a constant bedfellow. By comparison, most of the problems we face here are laughably insignificant and I get that.

However, what I can speak to is a lack of freedom in other ways. I’m talking more about the shackles we put ourselves in, how we deny ourselves happiness because we feel trapped by the lives we have built for ourselves. I have a dear friend who is so insecure and desperate for love, despairing of ever finding someone else, that she is staying in a terrible situation with a manipulative, dangerous lunatic because he pays her attention and tells her the things she wants to hear. I have another friend who is in a gay, sexless, affectionless, denying relationship of five years or more. Under the supposition that it’s better than nothing, he has proposed to his boyfriend…who turned him down more than once. The reason? The boyfriend’s wealthy parents don’t approve, so my friend is a “roommate”, a “friend” which has become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Until what time? The boyfriend is shackling himself to the death of his parents, too cowardly to do anything else. My friend has shackled himself to this situation even though he wants marriage and passion and affection that can and do and should last into a long term relationship. It changes, but it shouldn’t die.

Myself? I’ve had a talk with myself for some time, asking if I was happy. When that answer came up a resounding, “Hell no!” I had to think about when I was happy. What makes me unhappy? What is in the way of my happiness? And why was I staying in these situations if I was so unhappy?

I’ve mentioned a quote from Wolves of Midwinter by the fantastic Anne Rice. A father is talking to his son, saying, “Why don’t people do what they really want to? Why do we settle for what makes us profoundly unhappy? Why do we accept that happiness just isn’t possible?”

I don’t know how many times I’ve come back to that. Why do we accept unhappiness as though there is no other option, as though we cannot change our lives, no matter what our ages? It’s hard, it usually is, but with some thought and consideration and planning, any change is acceptable. Some people are nomads. They can pick up and change their lives, as fickle and changeable as the wind. Some of us are earthen and require great effort to uproot ourselves, but once we start, we are earthquakes. The tension builds and builds and we take it and take it until we let loose and move the earth. Some are fire and just burn ahead, destroying anything that will get in the way. Some are water and just go through and around obstacles. But we can all do it. We can change our lives for the better.

That is freedom. It’s a freedom we do not celebrate very often because, I think, we take that freedom for granted. When we realize our own power, we can move our entire worlds. Wish me luck.

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~ by Darren Endymion on July 4, 2016.

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