Understanding "Freedom"

The Fourth of July - All things summer right? It’s cookouts, pool, family, sunscreen and fireworks. All the freedoms you get living in the good ole USA. It’s funny how the word freedom is used. By definition, freedom means you are not enslaved or forced to act or be a certain way. You are not trapped. Of course, for the USA freedom means all of those things to show our independence. Interesting, that word freedom, because it is purely based on one’s perception of the situation.

The fourth of July does not necessarily mean freedom for me. The fourth of July is my anniversary with Clayton. It made sense when we picked it. That was the night we officially picked each other and we saw fireworks. Fireworks now mean an entirely different thing to me.

Fireworks make me sad.

I might be the only person in the world to ever write that sentence. Maybe?

Perception is a fickle beast because what is freedom to one means loss to another. You see, the two are one in the same depending upon your viewpoint. Some want to be single while so many of us long for our loss. Both are inherently freedom yet viewed entirely different. I never wanted to be free of Clayton. I never wanted to be free from his hold on me. I never wanted to be free from his voice, his smile or his laugh. This type of freedom isn’t a celebration at all. It is quite the opposite. Although I am free to do whatever I choose, I am a prisoner of my loss. The emotional punishment may lighten and the chains may loosen over time but I will never be free from his hold on my heart. I’m shackled forever to his memory so I can never truly be free and I don’t want to be. I will always love him.

As difficult as this journey has been, I wouldn’t erase the time I had with Clayton to pardon myself from the pain. On one hand, I have had a great loss but on the other I have a great gain. It’s entirely based on which side of the coin lands upright each morning and how I choose to read the outcome. I control the direction I aim my perception. I’ve lost Clayton but I have learned I am a strong and caring person. In my loss, I gained more respect and appreciation for who I am as a person for the way I have and still rise to the challenge of my new forced freedom. It’s strange to read that word freedom in this context but I gain control and power over it because I decide the definition.

For whatever reason, I am still on this journey without him. I still have a purpose and reason for being the one that stayed behind. Perhaps this is a journey I’m enslaved too so, in time, I fully understand who I am. The only way I can achieve whatever I am meant to achieve is to accept one leap of faith - All that has happened to me makes me who I am and the more I know me the more I hope to understand and know true freedom…

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