Freedom has always been extremely important to me. I remember my childhood, full of restrictions and frustrations and my incapacity to understand why they were being placed on me, since most of them seemed improper, irrational and unfair. Not being allowed to stay outside after 9 pm, getting punished for coming home wet after playing in the snow, not being allowed to play with other children from the neighboring houses when I was visiting my father’s parents, being forced to eat food I resented, not being allowed to cross the one way street in front of our block of flats until a certain age, not being allowed to leave the house for a week when my father was upset with me.
“I can’t wait to come of age and leave home”, I remember telling my best friend in childhood. I must’ve been under the age of ten. We were taking a walk through the gardens surrounding some neighboring blocks of flats in our street. Independence street.
And so I did. I came of age and I left home. Packed my bags, put everything in my father’s old red Audi 80, took my boyfriend with me and had my father drive us to the capital city, where I was starting my university studies. We made a stop on the way to do some shopping for my new home – a rented studio not far from the city center, that belonged to my high school desk mate.
I can still feel that heaviness in my heart when I remember my mother’s eyes, trying to hold back her tears as she was kissing me goodbye before getting into the car and driving back to our home town. I was finally free.
A few days later, when my boyfriend had to return to our home town to his job and I was left totally alone for the very first time in my life, I was crying my heart out in my empty studio and made the decision to walk to university and back home every day so that I had less time on my hands to feel alone. A period of long walks and intense study started. Then friends and parties and beers and laughter. And freedom paid off.
“When I am not in a relationship, I am free to do whatever I want, with whoever I want”, my cancer boy tells me rolling on his belly and hiding his eyes, his cheeks red and a tremble in the tough muscles of his arms giving him away.
And all of a sudden I remember my long marriage and all my affairs and all the lies and all the loneliness and all the unhappiness and the desire for freedom. Had I given up on my freedom? Had I made my ex husband give up on his? Is this what I do? Am I so possessive and insecure that I take away people’s freedom?
And I also remember sitting on a park bench with a former lover and friend and giving a speech about how wonderful it is to feel so free as to have sex with anyone you find attractive and not form attachments, but keep free and affectionate at the same time. And I remember the violent storm that burst out in my lover’s chest and how the pulling of strings from my heart felt so painful. And my guilt. And the strong and clear feeling that I broke something precious and rare and ever so sensitive. Something that I can never put back together again, no matter how hard I might try.
“No”, I reply. “I am free and you are free. We are both free people. I am not willing to give up on my freedom. And I don’t want you to give up on yours. A relationship is not about losing your freedom. It is about being free to choose to be with one person. And this is a choice you don’t only make once, but every day for as long as you are in that relationship. In my freedom, I choose to be with you. And if you need to have sex with other people too, you don’t ignore your need and don’t give up on your freedom. You find a partner who can accept that. You are always free.”
2016 has been the year of my freedom. And in this freedom my personal power could grow more than ever before. And from my increased personal power has come even more freedom. And love. Unconditional love. This is the fuel in my life journey and the purpose and the destination. Love is my motivation. It is unconditional love that I wish to stabilize and serve with my great personal strength. Inshallah.