The Freedom Myth
We are brought up in a world where the promises of bright futures, long trips abroad and the freedom to live as we please surround us and are repeatedly whispered to us as we sleep, eat and live.
Freedom in all its different shades and colors is the basic right of all living beings. The freedom to taste whatever apple or fruit we chose. Freedom to choose our God’s or to not choose at all, freedom to love whomever we felt a connection to and the freedom to build a home wherever we chose. Freedoms…the denying of freedoms for the billions (trillions?) of souls that have lived since those days when “the snake made me do it,” is tantamount to murder. Without freedom, what is a life?
Slavery has existed in many shapes and forms throughout time. The Hebrews were slaves in Egypt for hundreds of years while the Africans were slaves for hundreds of years around the world. The chains of slavery are not confined to the plantations or the Pharoahs. Slavery still exists today all around the world, even in your neighbors backyard.
Freedom, “just another word for nothing left to lose.” The child is born and placed in a crib where freedom is confined to a two by five cell. They learn to walk and talk. They are then confined to one room at a time and told what to say, when to say and to “be quiet a minute!”
Finally they are let out of the house into another holding cell where they are taught how to think, how to believe and how to act. They are forced into believing that all roses are red, that all oceans are blue and that the color of money is green. No adjustment to hues and tints are considered a passing grade.
“Sit still, stop talking, this is the answer not that, be like him, be like her, cant you follow the rules?” The attempts to mold the child into an adult that society would hire, most times succeed, although the failures, in retrospect, turn out to be more of a success than the ones who were molded.
The Myth of “The One” and Losing it all
Hollywood, above all other mediums, has had the strongest influence on culture. Perfect people living virtually perfect lives. From the begining of literature and into the 21st century there is always that feeling of a void that must be filled with, “the one.”
“The one” who is the soulmate, “we must have loved each other in different lifetimes for our love to be this strong this fast.”
“The one” who can fill up all voids, heal all wounds and complete each dream of a life filled with the treasures of this world.
“The one,” is the biggest myth of all. We are told the stories of “Romeo and Juliet.” Cartoons and fairy tales about the Princess awaiting her Prince to complete her. Snow White cured by the magic kiss; Cinderella and her shoe and even Fay Wray in the grasp of King Kong.
“The One?” Tell that to Zsa Zsa Gabor! She was married 9 times!
How about the ones who marry and then divorce? Are they done? Is there no other “one?” How about “The Two”?
Or the widow or the widower, is the pursuit of love just settling for a replacement until death do they unite?
Before we can ever find love we must first find “the one.”
I was married at 21 years old and totally in love and convinced that she was “the one.” After the marriage ended in divorce 6 years later I began to wonder if there would be anyone else I would love as much as “the one.” Would I be able to look into another woman’s eyes and see forever again? Would that “forever” be a lie as well?
Finding the One, the real One
A funny thing happened on the way to recovery. I began to go through the stages of growing up. I punished myself, blamed myself and then forgave myself. I sequestered myself into my one bedroom apartment, once again a loss of freedom and enslaved by another.
I walked alone for several years and suddenly I was blessed with meeting the one person in this world that I would forever call, “the one.” The “one” came to me and illuminated the blindness that had imprisoned me throughout my life.
As a child, we are taught to conform. To emulate, parents, teachers, older siblings and friends – they all want you to be who they want you to be. You find yourself in a crowd of lemmings and you are singing that same tune while marching off the cliff. But something inside of you is sad – a feeling of lonliness in a crowd. A feeling of wanting to cry while others are laughing. Wanted to sit while the world is dancing.
You find yourself as an adult, a child in chains in the middle of the town square. A pariah, an enigma a stranger in a strange land. People speaking in languages you cannot understand.
As a man walking alone I found myself in the rain one afternoon. I began to run for shelter when I decided to just continue my stroll. I pictured “Gene Kelly” and I wanted to dance in the puddles that had formed. I didnt physically, but I did in my mind. I smiled and I let out a laugh. Soaked and cold, I found myself back in my apartment with the door slamming shut behind me. A cell door imprisoning me again. I looked into the mirror and I began to sing to myself.
“I’m singin’ in the rain…” I tapped danced although I know for a fact it would not be considered any sort of dance in reality.
I caught my reflection as I walked across the room, undressed and soaked, in need of a towel. I kept seeing that image as I went back to shower and was dressed and eating supper. I felt as if I had seen a ghost, an old friend from my childhood and even the sense of watching my children being born. But the meaning eluded me as I went to sleep that night.
It wasnt until the next evening when I realized who and what I had seen.
All my life I had been the person who everyone wanted me to be. If someone was sad, I would do ludicrous things to make her smile.
But I quickly learned that we can only do so much – the path to happiness needs to be found by the ones who are lacking. You can steer the sad, you can point the lost in the right direction and you can translate words so they can understand…but only they can get to where they need to be.
I came to the apartment the next evening and made myself some ravioli. Called my kids on the phone to tell them goodnight. Went to sit down and collect my thoughts. Out of reflex I began to feel sad, I began to feel alone. Until I realized that, at that moment at least, I was not sad, I did not feel alone.
It seems that the myths that had shaped my life had thrown me into a cellar filled with timed predispositions of emotions. Since I was alone and the house was dark, like an emotional alarm clock I was thrust into these feelings of sadness. So I questioned myself aloud.
“How are you feeling?” I took what my therapist had referred to as an “emotional temperture.” How exactly are you feeling at this moment?
My reflexive reaction was to say and feel, “sad.” But I took a deep breath, and began to feel what I was actually feeling at the moment.
“I am ok. I may not be where I thought I would be at this point in my life, but thats ok.”
The point I am trying to make here, as I trip over words, metaphors and runon sentences…is that we always are with “the one.” Until you discover the actual “one” you cannot truly discover any true emotion, true love.
Some people divert their attention by fooling themselves into believing they are in love because they are actually physically attracted to someone.
Some people take on the role of a savior by falling in love with the others who are disenfranchised and bringing them into their fold. An embrace that will lead to exhaustion once the novelty has run out.
Some people are told who is right and wrong for them and follow that path only to find themselves at impasses or deadend streets.
Some run to the first person who acknowledges them only to realize down the line that she never truly saw you at all.
Some feel a physical connection and cannot contain their passion or desire – that is called “lust” and is always, at first at least, misinterpreted as “love.”
“I can’t stop thinking of you.”
“Everytime I am near you I just want to jump on you.”
Love is when you connect on spiritual levels. When the values of life are compatible. When they are the one you want to sit at a table with and either speak or remain silent. When mutual respect mandates their disagreements and their conversations.
The beauty of love is its unwillingness to be defined by gestures alone. Love has an infinite amount of definitions; with actions, words and understandings. Love is acceptance.
Acceptance, think about that word for a moment. Have you accepted your true self? Have you accepted your strengths and your weaknesses and tried to improve upon them for yourself, not for others?
“The one,” Ladies and gentlemen, “The love of your life, your destiny, the person you will grow old with, share good times and bad times with, ride the crazy roller coaster of life with, and eventually die with. The one is the person you see in the reflection.
I only realized that I could love another person, once I was able to love myself. To love my faults, my strengths, my gifts and my shortcomings. Love, true love, can only exist within yourself. Once that exists you can soar above the clouds, you can look in her eyes and promise forever because she accepts the whole package; warts, smiles, tears and hairy earlobes and all. If she doesn’t? You wouldn’t have continued to see her because your view would not be clouded by Hollywood dreams. By the myths that divert us from finding ourselves.
Love…Who would have thought you were with me all along?