I wrote the following piece a while ago when I in a time of despair felt I had lost the ability to change a bad situation for myself. I wanted someone else to provide the solution. I wanted others to fix my hurts and troubles, because I felt it unfair that I should under the circumstances…. it wasn’t my fault, after all. I was just a victim….
And yes that is true. I was a victim. Of myself. Of rejecting ownership of my life and actions. The only loss I had suffered was that of my willingness to be my own custodian in life. I wanted someone else to make me happy, and convinced myself I couldn’t do it alone. That I was dependent on the mercy and will of others around me to achieve fulfillment for myself …
Freedom is something defined in a lot of different ways. The right to free expression or individuality and personal preferences. The right and liberty to not have to conform or adopt to ways and views we do not agree with. The entire “civilised” world is build on this concept of freedom.
Yet still it seems that every day brings examples of how this right is compromised. Not because of need or threat of force. But because we (un)knowingly forfeit it.
Throughout life there is always someone to be found in the nearest vicinity to cling to. Someone to follow and take directions from when we don't know what to do. Parents, family, friends, peers, partners… religion, politics, idols… anything and anyone prepared to fashion trends and hand out free solutions … thus providing a very convenient way to avoid the responsibility that would make us sole owners of our actions and deeds even in our own eyes.
But whatever excuse we come up with…. whether we want to or not… acknowledged or unintended … we own what we do, think and are. And we alone are responsible for how it affects the world around us. Ignorance isn’t a shield. Victimizing ourselves isn’t a valid pardon. What others do is irrelevant. We stand alone in the face of this responsibility. And running isn’t an option… just a prolonged sentence. Sooner or later… we will have to rise….
In the absence of Freedom
Nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. No rest, no respite. Silence isn’t silent but more like a well of words and thoughts, roaming, searching for a voice to set them free. Something that could seize them and make them real. Something that could take hold of them and release the pent-up yearning they contain. A frantic struggle with the darkness to find an elusive shimmer of light. A battle where the enemy is only looming inside, and where dread has taken all senses hostage. No rational reactions. No clear thoughts. A struggle to break through to the surface for just one single breath of air.
Sounds are distorted, muffled as if they are traveling through a wall of water to reach me. Cold murky water obscuring everything. My eyes no longer see the world, only what is in my head. My hands are tied, my feet shackled. Blinded by fear and rage I would cry if I were not so paralyzed by panic. Forced to my knees. Debased and shamed into submission by the conscious mind. Enslaved to feelings I do not understand. Why am I allowing myself to get lost in fighting this useless battle?
The truth is I can’t not fight. Something deep inside me demands that I attempt escape. A longing burning so brightly it sears my corneas, leaving lasting scars, is engulfing me. I no longer command my own thoughts and feel them spiraling away from me in an ever-widening motion. Like a moon drifting out of orbit…
I am the spectator now. And maybe that suits me just fine? Maybe it is easier to accept the cloak of helplessness and despair, and fight a battle I do not belong in…. rather than stand tall and walk away from it.
Every blow of the whip calms me and I stay down where I fell to the ground, receiving it with anticipation of freedom and release from all but the throbbing burning welts rising on my skin. If I looked in the mirror what would I see right now?? Would I recognize myself? I very much doubt it…
The struggle continues – a paradox really, how one can both fight and be broken at the same time – I could get up and walk away despite the dripping wounds. The manacles would dissipate, the blindness would turn to clear sight and I would realize that I can still stand. But in the heat of the battle, in the absence of freedom, I bow my head and cry for the choices I do not know that I have.