Freedom from Impulsive Reactivity
In my 20s when I embarked on being an undergrad, there were moments that I would react impulsively at anything being thrown at me. I felt immense passion for my beliefs or my cause, and I felt compelled to defend them at all times. It was a pure luxury of youth to be able to react in defense of one’s beliefs—and the reaction was immediate and always centered on the personal. If one had a different perspective that did not align with my own—I felt compelled to alter or change that person’s mind and to have him or her see where I am coming from. I say it’s a luxury because the beauty of youth is that it is driven by passion, and still quite impressionable. There’s an innocence that preserved there–not yet touched by age or experience.
I remember this one man who was set in his convictions- a white man who was a baby boomer, conservative, and had put it in his time in this world. I remembered talking to him about feminism and how he called it “hogwash” and complete bullshit. And, I remember discussing with him about its importance in history and women’s rights. He didn’t have none of it. What was interesting about that exchange was that I remember being solidified in my beliefs because he stood for the very reason why there were movements toward equality. I was pissed, and triggered at every word he had to say. I remembered being disgusted at even being in the same room as this man who stood for everything that I started to believe in. Thank goodness he wasn’t family. I have patience and love for the members of my family, and it was easy to walk away from someone like him.
What I didn’t realize then was that I didn’t have the intuitive experience to realize there are those who were set in their own convictions that an engaging conversation would never change nor alter their opinions. I understood now though the basis for his beliefs. He was born in a world that was much different from today. He was raised in an environment that had less complexity that the environment we have faced in decades and today. While the world is changing, he must feel and believe even strongly that he must hold on to his convictions. And, I realized somehow– that this is alright.
There’s a freedom in this realization—to be able to step back and reflect before reacting to a complex situation: the realization that I am able to step away from taking it personal, and looking at the multi-dimensional complexity of the situation. I found that the words that once would trigger a reaction no longer have an effect. People state the offensive, the vile, the “unsaid” to trigger a reactive combat. But, I think what good would it do in a conversation? For one to state something offensive and demoralizing doesn’t say anything about the one who is at the receiving end of such statements, but rather it reveals a lot of its speaker.
I have the freedom to react in whichever way I choose to, or upon reflection decide whether engaging is worth my time or a waste of it.
Freedom to Choose
I must give credence to those people who are able to make choice about life after some in-depth consideration and reflection. These people are wise beyond their years early on in their life, and they are able to determine the core of their truth. They’ve realized early on that there are people who are healthy for their mind set, and then are those people who continue to be unhealthy for them.
I am not one of those people.
I am the kind of person who is still learning to say no. I am the kind of person who is considered a late bloomer—someone who never followed a path, and often always chose the difficult route–sometimes intentionally, but oftentimes just based on stupidity and recklessness. People wouldn’t think that I am that way at all—because I’m a planner. But, it’s true. I’ve only recently found balance between the logical and illogical, the stupid and the idiotic.
What I have become lately is one who has learned that oftentimes walking away and letting people go is perhaps the best route–most especially the people who has had power over you, and they’ve known how to wield it in such way that benefits them, but hurts you the most. We only have this one life, and there are moments when one must accept when it’s time to go, and to let go.
There’s this beauty about coming into your own self: one realizes that while they may not have had a choice in who they associate with growing up—as an adult, we all have a choice on who should be in our lives and to focus on these people we chose to love, and who chose to love us.
Freedom to Say “Fuck You” To Whoever
To the people who attempts to anger you.
To the chair that bumped your big toe.
To the failed cake you attempted to bake.
To those who attempt to oppress and suppress.
To those who are passionate about spreading bitterness.
To those who could no longer see the good in people.
To those who suffocate dreams.
To those who plant fear in the underbelly of your being.
To those who always doubt.
Freedom to Fear
Once upon a time—like many people—I was afraid of death. To die and to no longer be part of this world. One day, I realized that it wasn’t death that I feared—it was the grief that is paired with death.
The abyss of dark pain unyielding to any ray of happiness was what I feared the most. It would be the grief that those I love would have to endure, or my own grief for those that I love.
But, then I thought, to grieve means that I am still living. And, to live a life in grief and misery isn’t a way to live at all.
I realized that to live we must have the freedom to fear whatever we want because it is part of navigating through life—with that in mind, I also found the freedom to let go of such fear.
Maya Angelou once said, “Hope and Fear cannot occupy the same space. Invite one to stay.” To me, to hope is a freedom to proclaim still I rise in spite of immense fear.
So. Here’s to finding freedom in the least likely of all places—you may find that you’ve liberated yourself from bonds that you never thought even existed.