I recently picked up a book that describes how the fear of freedom often holds us back from actually achieving what we want for ourselves. The book, “Your Fear Of Love” by Marshall Bryant Hodge, used an example of a man, who dissatisfied with his life, finds fault in his work and family around him, blaming them for limiting his freedom. But when given the chance to cut his ties and be free, he is too scared of having endless possibilities, and chooses instead to keep walls up around him. His fear of freedom lets him suffer safely and blame others, as opposed to assuming personal responsibility for every choice that led him there. The author of the book suggests that while freedom is “one of our most deep-rooted ideals,” we like to maintain a fantasy of being trapped because we are too scared to discover that we are free to do whatever we want.
So admittedly, part of the books put me to sleep, and parts I fully disagreed with, and honestly I’d have a hard time recommending it to anyone. Yet I couldn’t stop thinking about this concept. That we limit ourselves from achieving freedom out of fear. And I think he may be right about that to an extent. Freedom can be a scary thing. Being able to make all of our own decisions, living as we want to live. Being the master of our own destiny.
I made the hard decision to choose my freedom over the other parts of my life recently. I packed up my belongings, and left with tears streaming down my face. I felt unhappy, like I was living someone else’s life. I was told to appreciate what I had, told to be happy, but it just doesn’t work like that. And even living with someone, I still felt lonely. I felt like I had no one to talk to, no one that cared for me or my feelings I felt like I didn’t have the ability to live the life of adventure that makes me happy. I lacked freedom and companionship. I became depressed, and was a version of myself that I didn’t even like being with. The instagram pictures may look cheerful, but the reality was that I was miserable.
It was scary being free. The last year of my life seemed to have turned me from a very competent adult to a less-significant other. I had to remind myself when I struggled to leave the house for groceries, that at one point, not too long ago, I traveled halfway around the world and walked thousands of miles, making new friends in new places. At one point in my life I didn’t have anxiety about being home alone. And when I first left, I felt like a shell of my former self. But I knew that I had to try and find a better version of myself, even if I didn’t know how. A true, “Fake it ‘til you Make it” moment.
And it was so very lonely. I made sure that my dad knew my travel plans so that if something happened he would know where I was, because I knew that no one else was concerned. I had all the freedom I could ever dream of. My responsibilities included buying gas and ice, and sometimes I forgot about the ice. I went to strikingly beautiful places, but had no one to share them with. I watched a happily-in-love couple (LoveNote and Burly) tie the knot and shared with them and their joy, while fighting to ignore the feelings of longing for something similar. I stressed about what to do with my future. I cried over happy pictures taken from “before.” I spent many hours alone, and lonely, in my car needing a hug and a Netflix marathon. And hopefully somewhere in that I have started to heal, to grow.
Freedom is scary. And mind-blowingly wonderful if you let it be. I’m trying to focus on being in the moment, allowing for flexibility, exploration, growth. But some days that same freedom leaves me so depressed and scared. I don’t know what the future holds for me, whether I should work towards a life lacking freedom, with security and maybe less loneliness. Or if it’s worth the effort to feel all the lows with the highs and keep seeking my happiness alone.
I guess for now, I’ll buy some ice.