free spirit.

One of the things I keep saying to myself that I want to be, that's become my one goal with the rest of my time here on this side of this planet in this galaxy in this part of this Universe, is to be more of a free spirit. When I say this, I think I basically mean: Non-conformity. I mean: Take your rules and shove 'em where the sun don't shine, Mr. Man. I want to be a bird you cannot change

I know I've never liked being told what to do. I don't like feeling backed into a corner or confined. I know this is one reason I'm having such a hard time in public education right now; it's all just so confining, so regimented and scripted, so without creativity. Also, I come out swinging when I feel like I'm being bossed around or manipulated or caged. And I am stubborn; when I make up my mind, I'm pretty certain (till I'm not). I've always been fiercely independent; I don't really ask for help until I'm in a place where I can barely crawl my way back to the Light. And even then I'm still trying to do a lot of the work myself even though you may be practically carrying me. As a child, it didn't bother me that other kids were out playing and doing whatever. I was perfectly content reading under a tree, hanging out at the neighborhood pool all by myself while making up worlds about mermaids and freaking myself out that Jaws COULD, theoretically, be at the bottom of the 12 ft deep end. I wrote stories and plays and sat and listened to adult conversation with curious and sometimes shocked ears. I mean, I did have friends, but I was absolutely and completely content to be by myself (and this is still true). People tend to drain me, particularly in large crowds. My mother worried a little about me out loud sometimes, my father occasionally encouraged me to go out and make more friends. But mostly they just let me be...ME. I'd spend hours drawing my father pictures of fashion models so he could have a harem, or I'd write my mom a poem about my ridiculous brother (honestly, WHY was he THERE, Mom??) (I'm joking; my brother and I are good friends and I love him to pieces...especially now that we live in separate houses). Or I'd be performing a bizarre dance routine in our basement, certain it was floatingly esoteric when in reality it possibly looked like I had a degenerative muscle disease (I still dance like this, by the way).

But I'm also a consummate people pleaser; I want everyone to be happy and at peace. Which means that, in the past, so often I've found myself agreeing to do things and be things that aren't really true to who I am at heart. And then I end up feeling resentful and angry and restless. So, so, sooooo restless. Which is why I left my marriage in June; I tried very very hard for several years to fit into the Big Picture...but in the end, it wasn't ever my Big Picture. And this makes me sad. I really, really wanted to help C have his Big Picture. I still do, actually. I really like that one corner he's painted over there, and the hues he's chosen for the sky at midnight. But it's not MY big picture, and that really bothers me. 

(I remember one conversation towards the end, fraught with distress and frustration with me on C's part...he just wanted me to understand, to see the Big Picture, to get with the game plan. C is very athletic, and drawn to team sports. I remember he'd always say to me: We're a team. This family is a team. And I remember every time C would bring up the concept, the idea, of the three of us - him, me, and Miss M - as a team, I'd think: but what if I've always abhorred team sports? Because I'm more of a runner, or maybe an archer. Bodybuilding or singles tennis, perhaps. I've never really enjoyed the team-aspect of group sports. That requires asking for help a lot, and I like to do things myself. When our arguments started heading this route, it was one big page turner/eye opener for me. I mean, okay. I'll be your top athlete...if I can go it alone.)

So anyway. I went looking/researching for what it means to be a free spirit. Because I'm pretty patchouli hippie and all, but before I get a the Sanskrit symbol for God tattooed on my inner right wrist and some birds flying off into a sunset inked onto my inner left thigh, I want to make sure I actually know what I'm doing. That I'm on the right path. 

It turns out, I am. Because ha! Free spirit = no definitions. No confines, no inside the boxes. Which, hurrah! Oh, hurrah. You can totally be a Wall Street Banker AND a free spirit. You can save for a rainy day and STILL be a free spirit. You don't have to panhandle to be free. Free spirit means stop trying to come up with a definition and just freaking BE. Let your spirit free and just BE. 

Here's one article I found that has my name all over it: 21 Unusual Struggles Only Free Spirits Will Understand. I understand all 21 of them. And yes to everything in THIS one, and ditto everything in THIS one. And also that it's okay to be completely contradictory of what you said on Monday by saying the exact opposite on Wednesday - that is completely indicative of a free spirit. Free Spirits just won't play by your rules, homey. 

So yeah. I think I'm doing okay in my free spirit journey quest, because it turns out I've been one since, oh, 1972 or so. I just didn't know it. And you know what that means, don't you? It means that probably the reason I'm so fucked up emotionally half the time is because I'm not being true to my nature, I'm too worried about societal standards and norms or that person's definition of moral behavior or what she thinks or he wants or why that stranger in the supermarket is glaring at me. I'm not an overnighter; I can't quit my addictions cold turkey, and I'll be very honest and let you know that I am addicted to other people's opinions of me. I want people to like, no, love me. And so I care what other people think. And it's really been harshing my mellow. For a really, really, really long time now.

So that's another goal I'll be focusing on for the next 365-ish days or so: getting back to that time I could spend a Saturday night reading a book or writing a short story about one of the Menudo boys falling in love with me and whisking me off to exotic San Juan, Puerto Rico to sing me Spanish lullabies in minor keys. Meanwhile, all the other 15 year olds were off dating and making out at the movies, and I couldn't have cared less. Not a single iota. The nanosecond I can access that girl again, I'll be juuuust fine. 'Cause screw your judgments, eff your norms. Life's short; fly free, little freebird. Those cages ain't nothin' but a thang.

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