#F4TFriday,  Words

Freedom – a #F4TFriday post

Right now freedom feels like a curse.

On a bright, warm morning in late November Ho Chi Minh City, as I use google translate and my limited Vietnamese politesse to order a croissant so far from its French origins that it could be a brioche bun, still it feels like a curse, or worse, that I am cursed. The croissant is warm and doughy and perfect for my stomach which has been slightly unsettled for most of this trip. As usual I turn to sweet food to ease my grief and unease.

I am sitting opposite an Australian man and his Vietnamese/Australian daughter and eavesdropping on their easy relationship and their calls home to connect with family there. As I listen and type, I cry. Their lives, from this distance anyway, look full of laughter, closeness and gentle teasing.

The man reassures his partner who is apologising for not calling, “we still love you, beautiful girl”, I contrast this with the last few messages I have received from my son, where he tells my daughter and I that we are too emotional and says he doesn’t have to listen to our opinions if they cause him stress, where he calls us two-faced for telling his housemates what has happened as we return home without him, where he orders me to leave the nightclub we have just met him at, arm pointed, “just go mum” and I am humiliated and left again in a strange city in a foreign country by people I thought I did not have to be armoured against.

My world, post abuse, post co-dependency, post divorce, post family, post everything that was my normal for the last 27 years, is free, but at times I wonder at the cost and I am afraid. Afraid that this is it, and that actually the problem in all my life has been myself, rather than the situations, the people and the relationships. Afraid that I lack the wherewithall to change. Afraid that I will never get straight again. Afraid that I will die like this, at odds with my family, adrift and alone.

Janis said it like this “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose”, and right now it feels that to gain my freedom I had to leave behind pretty much everything. To do that I had to get to the point that it seemed preferable to keeping everything but continuing to live the way I was. As I struck out and left my husband and my home people told me I was brave. I knew I was desperate. That I had reached the point where my back was against the wall and there was no where else to go. I hoped (hope) that I could forge new better relationships with my adult children but it seems that I don’t have the skills. Faced with conflict I still freeze, when I don’t do that I fawn and then it ends in triangulation. I am a wordless wordsmith, unable to forge new pathways and new ways of relating, and mostly not writing. Still recovering, second guessing myself and unable to find an authenticity with my family that I seem to do with ease online.

So, where to from here?

I feel that freedom is a state that has to be lived into, one painful, frightening, and occasionally exhilarating step at a time. Each moment, each decision, each new way of behaving is a delicate bud and not all buds grow to fruition. Most important in this is to approach myself with kindness and to remember to extend this to others when I can. To stay in my feelings as long as I have to, to allow time for processing what has happened. And to remember that not everything people say or do deserves my attention or a response.

My aim is to become self directing, to extend to myself all the care and attention I have, until now, so freely  and at times recklessly given to others. To remember that people who want to be in my life are worth more time and attention than those who don’t.

And to remember that music is my balm, my healing, that brings me back to the moment and the pleasure that is there.

You dancin’?

“Busted flat in Baton Rouge, waitin’ for a train
And I’s feeling near a faded as my jeans
Bobby thumbs a diesel down, just before it rained
It rode us all the way to New Orleans

I pulled my harpoon out of my dirty red bandanna
I was plain’ soft while Bobby sang the blues, yeah
Windshield wipers slappin’ time, I was holdin’
Bobby’s hand in mine
We sang every song that driver knew

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose
Nothin’ don’t mean nothin’ hon ‘ if it ain’t free, no no
And, feelin’ good was easy, Lord, when he sang the blues
You know, feelin’ good was good enough for me
Good enough for me and my Bobby McGee

“Me and Bobby McGee” is a song written by American singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson and songwriter Fred Foster, originally performed by Roger Miller.

This post has been written in response to Food 4 Thought Friday’s prompt this week which is ‘Freedom’  See more posts on the subject here




  • MPB

    I’m lying in bed at my mum’s rather than home thinking about the parallels and differences in our lives eye. But while painful to write about and live through, this trip seems to have helped you work out where you go from here. It seems you have to be brave again and push on with the life you want. Maybe one day your son will recognise the sacrifices you made. Hopefully not too late. Sending love and hugs beautiful lady xxx

    • eye_bright@outlook.com

      Thanks Julie. I think you are right and I do need to be brave again. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t but it’s my time now x

  • E. L. Byrne

    Sounds like this trip has brought. Lot of things up for you to examine and work with and help you move on. I too feel like life and my freedom is a series of steps (sometimes stops too) where each thing gets examined before deciding how to move forward. Hugs and love and light as you make New decisions and take care of you!

    • eye_bright@outlook.com

      Stepping, hopping, stopping and stalling my way through life . Thank you for the hugs and love and light. I so appreciate it xx

  • May

    Once again I have tears in my eyes as I read your words. You cut through all the crap and lay things out bare. I very much can relate with what you’ve written – luckily I do have a good relationship with my kids but not with the rest of “my family” – I think your son has a lot of growing up to do –
    I too can not cope with conflict. And understand that freedom is all about one step at a time xx

  • Ogden Fahey

    Boys, who’d have em? Thats what they say here in the UK! He’ll grow up a bit more eventually, but first he has to find his own patch and own it. Its tough for everyone, so take care! Xx

  • Modesty Ablaze (@ablazingmodesty)

    Sometimes family . . . and family situations . . . can bring out spur-of-the-moment statements that perhaps would not be uttered in different company or circumstances. And sometimes pride gets in the way of sympathy and understanding.
    I always think that time . . . and maturity . . . heals and changes those “spur-of-the-moments”.
    May your travels and journeys allow those changes and healings.
    Xxx – K

  • Molly

    I really think you have to grab the good things in your life and enjoy them. Live for you. Your son will hopefully find his way and realise but in the meantime you should absolutely centre yourself in your decisions


  • InigoMore

    A moving post, and suggests a lot more than it states. Sounds to me like you’re going in the right direction. The important thing is to keep looking forward. Freedom’s not a place, it’s a road.

  • Marie Rebelle

    Your post made me think about my mom and how for years she had a bad relationship with her son, how badly he treated her, how much heartache it caused her, but also me. She was so focused on the tiniest crumbs he threw her way that she sometimes forgot about us who were much closer (and nicer) to her. That changed when she put herself at the center, and they finally made their peace before mom passed away. Always put yourself at the center, Eye, you deserve that.

    Rebel xox

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