What Freedom Looks Like

So much of my life has changed since I left my mother’s nest. As likely eluded to in past posts, my departure was not by choice, but rather out of my mother’s desperation to have her freedom. The same freedom I had strived for nine years of my post-college life to give to her. The same freedom that all of my well-laid plans failed to accomplish.

The strange thing is how in just three months, I feel as though I’ve experienced more than I had in those long nine years leading up to turning thirty in just the past three months. Most likely, that feeling can be attributed to the majority of my 20s being rife with gender dysphoria, financial and emotional struggles, my rise and fall from grace within corporate America, and a daily bath in self-loathing. My path to self-discovery began at age 26, self-acceptance at age 27, public admittance at age 28, and mental maturation into the self-confident, charismatic woman that once only existed as a transient existence within this blog. Regardless of the insanely arduous path that has led me to this point, accepting my mother’s [legal] ordinance to leave and becoming self-accountable in every possible way has radically broadened my personal ideologies & goal-setting standards.

In layman’s terms: I have rapidly cultivated a much sharper understanding of what I want and believe I deserve out of this life.

Now, a month and a half into this new chapter of my 30s, I walk taller, trust more, set smarter goals, and indulge in ways I would not have done before. My identity has virtually been carved in stone & no one dares to question the legitimacy of my womanhood. In the last few months, men have begun making passes at me when I’m only wearing basic problem area cover-up on my chin. Quite honestly, this truth continues to baffle me.

As I type this entry on my phone while washing clothes on my own in my local laundromat for the first time, more and more do I feel as though I am slowly grasping the life – what it’s really like to be “busy” – that my mother led for so many years. I was able to find a place to live with a male roommate who I discovered is a closet geek. I’ve taken the next step in transitioning from a 7-day work week split between two part-time jobs to taking the plunge with one relatively flexible, full-time position with a relatively new company franchise that welcomes my creativity & business acumen. This new position now opens up my schedule for putting more time into my voice-over work, exploring new skill sets, running needed errands, & being social with minimal sacrifice. All coming with a suitable paycheck and a healthier work-life balance.

My life as a 30-year old woman rapidly continues taking each decisive, difficult stride one goal at a time despite clawing my way up from practically nothing.  In the face of intense doubt & bloodied pride, I become accustomed to the painful crashing through each wall of uncertainty, defying any and all which dares to hold me back from reaching my destination. The legacy of my life shall echo through the ages. I will settle for nothing less.

Freedom is like a new, untrained pet given to a child. An immediately gratifying source of joy in the initial moments, the new owner holds it close only to be peed on without warning. The child quickly discovers it was all a farce as the pet requires so much more effort and attention to maintain than they could have imagined. However, if they remain diligent and train the pet well, moments of joy can still abound amidst their constant demands. Alas, the child’s perspective of pet ownership will never be the same and relies solely on their own will to either care for it or hate it.

I have chosen to care for this “pet” called freedom the best way I can, loving my self and life more than ever.

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Because reasons…

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Art by Ori Kintahumi
“Everything happens for a reason…”

For a long time, I believed this. I think it became even more apparent to me once I began taking Christianity seriously during my late teen years as my life and emotions seemed to be crumbling around me. Now that I have gone through a number of various life changes and experienced a bit more, relying on this belief isn’t entirely beyond me. Yet, accepting my existence and path in life as completely in the hands of a higher power has no room in my current form.

To simply rest on my laurels and say things like, “Well God simply didn’t want that for me because there’s something better for me” is relinquishing one’s own free will and responsibility to actively do their part in shaping their future. Some may find comfort in the idea of blaming God for shit not going their way and find peace in that. However, those same people turn and blame God for misfortunate events that were actually out of their control. Why? Because it’s easier to blame a higher power than to simply say “This happened. I have to accept it and move on.”

This convenient double standard of conveniently having a source of blame is what I find most issue about regarding the kinds of Christians I was around for most of my life. That is not to say this is the reason I have gradually become more of an Agnostic than anything. Rather, I acknowledge that Christianity aided me in controlling my emotions – most notably, my anger and sense of abandonment regarding my father – and brought me to a place where I could put myself second to equip me to inspire & help my fellow man. Christianity even helped me recover from the most scarring betrayal of my existence. Though, as may be apparent in my blog entries years back, I became torn between believing in a fluffy, kind God that graced an ordained human with spiritual insight to guide other humans…or having enough faith to believe in my own ordinance of free will to guide and inspire myself and others if given the opportunity.

Things do, in fact, happen for a reason, but telling someone to “just have faith” or “trust God to work it out” is basically telling someone to look the other way and pray something good comes from what little they have or haven’t already done. Anyone can have faith, but having faith does not require a god or a religion. As I’ve admitted to my mother more than once, I now see Christianity as a moral compass for those who can recognize good from evil for themselves, but choose to rely on scripture written by the hands of man bestowed upon them by a being beyond their own understanding for wisdom.

Personally, I have no qualms with anyone who truly needs wisdom in this way, but I now trust in my own heart and knowledge. There are enough matters in this world to fear. A million ways to die that are out of our control. Submitting to being a follower of organized believers, fearing for my soul because of what a heavily edited tale of [oftentimes dated] life lessons is not how I wish to live out my atom-sized existence in this expansive universe.

To believe I can shape my legacy, influence my path, and learn from the negatives has freed me to live in a greater, more spiritual sense of valuing my own existence above all. Acknowledging the power I wield to influence all I can and to let go of that which I cannot. Life is too short to simply discard what doesn’t align with the rules of religion. I have more interest to amass knowledge about the different ways people believe than to ascribe to a singular belief system.

Perhaps I’ll share about how my artist friend of over ten years observed about how time has changed me. That, without a doubt, happened for a reason.