Sunday, June 24, 2018

I'm writing this down just to remind myself

I want to be free more than anything.

I wanted it since before I can remember and I've never stopped. This imperative has controlled the course of my life so utterly it's taken me 37 years to even fully understand it.

Because it's not been enough to defy my attachments to friends and family, the rules of society and every single label and category I've ever encountered. It's not enough to base my political beliefs on the thesis that allowing more people more options in life is better for everyone. Refusing to be tied down with a career or relationship or even a regular exercise routine is not enough. Defying every tradition and reexamining everything I think I know on a weekly basis just to see how things could be different is not enough.

Today I realized I've worked all my life to defy my attachment to my own body.

See, I was about nine years old when I first heard of the Buddhist precept of owning no more than seven things, to prevent the things from owning you. And even as I heard it it made immediate, intuitive sense to me. Not the number specifically but the idea that freedom comes from not investing too much of yourself in your things.

And I want to be free so much that I've worked for 37 years to rid myself of precious things. If I care about things, I'll only end up limiting and constraining myself for fear of losing them, my instinct told me. I don't know where this obsession with freedom comes from, but it is clearly an obsession, going far enough to neglect to care for my own body in case it upset me if something were to happen to it. (That hasn't actually worked very well, judging by my reactions to things like breaking an arm at age 11. But neglecting my self-care has certainly worked.)

Now, as I mature, I'm becoming more able to compromise. I don't think it has to do with emotional maturity so much as a growing understanding that staying true to my ideals is killing me. In the end I'm all about survival instinct. I managed to figure out I'm actually uncomfortable in my body and want to change it a little over a year ago. And hey, I managed to reach out to make a friend already at the tender age of 22, when the loneliness got too much. And I can say she is the one who has done most of the work to strengthen my grip on the real world, giving me the tools to bring me to this point where I can recognize the problem and work to solve it.

To free myself from the need for freedom, ha.

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