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Freedom

July 4, 2012

Freedom.
That’s what I wanted to write about. I couldn’t think of what to say. I don’t know that I know what it is. I’m aware of the concept. But I don’t know that I’ve ever actually ever been a part of it. I don’t think it exists. There is freedom within boundaries, as my boss at the bookstore likes to say. But not true freedom.
When Chelsea’s boyfriend broke up with her two weeks ago, Matt suggested to her that she might feel relieved.
“You’re free,” he said.
“I know,” she replied dolefully. “It’s like being released. I have this horrible feeling of falling.”
Matt kept his mouth shut for a while.
Chelsea’s been pretty upset. You couldn’t tell if you saw her. She lets it drop sometimes.
“I feel,” she says from the blue, “I feel untethered.”
I know the feeling. It makes you feel unbalanced, adrift. The destination that seemed so concrete only a moment before has disappeared, a shimmering pool of fevered imagination. The future that seemed certain, the promise of the future, has vanished unexpectedly. There is nowhere to go. You never knew there could be. It is freedom, but it doesn’t feel like you think. Your insides deflate as loneliness squeezes your heart. Freedom in isolation.
Independence.
I suppose that’s what I should be writing about. Freedom comes with grief. Independence is strength. It is a choice; it is resolve. It is as real as freedom. There is no such thing. No one is independent. No one can be. We exist in a symbiosis with the world and with those around us. One cannot exist without the other. The child is never independent from the parent; the choices of the past affect the future. One can never be truly independent. You can be stand-offish but not independent.
I feel bad for choosing today of all days to bash freedom and independence. I couldn’t think of anything to write so I just started writing. It is a difficult struggle in life, trying to break free of negativity.

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