I’ve been thinking recently about Freedom (with a capital F), about choice, opportunities, and something that Mormons call Agency, or Free Agency.
For almost all the days of my life, my Agency or freedom to choose was curbed and curtailed.
As a child I was loved but there were difficulties there with an unstable home life and worries that a child shouldn’t have to carry. Fears about the staying safe and having enough to get by.
As an adult I chose paths which were offered under the guise of love but ended up being dangerous situations to be in.
Now that we, the child and I, are pretty safe and set up in a tiny little house in a nice neighbourhood, we have an emotional stability that wasn’t there before.
I always tried to shield the child, Missy, from the excesses of the demands of her dad – who she nicknamed Kirchek after the silverback gorilla in the Disney cartoon of Tarzan – but there was frequently a tension around the home and her freedoms to stand on the sofa or do headstands against a wall or grab a cushion and lay on the floor to watch a movie didn’t exist when he was in the house. When he was away on business we would excitedly run home from work and school, squealing with happiness and have “Eat Pizza, Drink Cola, Belch and Scratch Our Butts Nights” and we were joyful.
Since we moved to safety one of the aspects of life most important to me is choice and the freedom to choose.
It ties me in knots when I have money worries that make certain decisions difficult.
It ties me in knots if I see women who are curbing their own life to fit the template demanded by another.
I delight in raising a child who is strong minded and has set her own goals in life.
I believe that it is my job as a parent to help facilitate what she wants to pursue in life by getting her to the open evenings for schools, good nutrition, happy home life, fun time together without spending money as a priority, being emotionally available, quick to laugh and steady as a rock and occasionally correcting her teenage attitude when she crosses the line with me.
Separate to life with my daughter, I have helped scared women set up their own bank accounts away from the control of their husbands, I have asked pertinent questions very gently when I see husbands being emotionally abusive to their spouse – sometimes only “how are you?”, and by sharing what I have learned about the cycle of abuse and why people do what they do. I try very hard to present it as “I just learned… how did I not know this before? Amazing!!!” posts on my Facebook account. I know that the things I share are read because months later people who I thought might be experiencing difficulties of this nature will catch up with me privately and ask about it or share that they are worried about something and at that time I try to be a good listening ear, as sounding board, non-judgmentally letting them verbalise what has thus far been forbidden to be thought let alone spoken. People make good choices and re-find their confidence which was lost when they can hear themselves talking out loud.
Freedom to choose is precious and needs to be protected.
If we know who we are and what we stand for it is far less easy for a person with ill intent to come along and derail our happiness.
If we know who we are and what we stand for it is far more easy for likeminded people to find you and bump along nicely together.
I am happy for anybody to tell me what they stand for, even and perhaps especially if it differs from my own view because that’s what makes life interesting.
In choir we sometimes sing the melody all together and then we split into harmonies or parts – all singing something slightly different but which improves and enhances the overall experience and which is quicker to touch the hearts as an immersive experience for the singers and the audience. It’s a beautiful thing to behold.
In life, I find that finding the people who walk a different but harmonious path to your life also brings a quality of happiness that is not easy to measure externally but which is valuable.
Please value your freedom.
Join organisations which value the freedom of others.
Amnesty International have a Facebook page – did you know? How easy is that?!
Look out for people where there seems to be worry or upset or they post things that ring your alarm bells.
It’s really easy to start exercising your Freedom, just start making choices rather than going with the flow.
And it brings satisfaction and joy along with it too, and who doesn’t want satisfaction and joy?