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Freedom has been on my mind lately. Just before my van broke down in August, I was driving north on I-5 and I had a most brilliant thought about how free I was; I could go and do anything, just me and the open road. The feeling inside was an electrifying vibration that helped me and Myrtle float for a few more hours. I guess I wasn’t as free as I believed.

While I was still figuring out what to do, a friend gestured toward my Ganesh tattoo and commented, “You sure do have a lot of obstacles in your way considering the remover of obstacles is on your arm.” I laughed so I wouldn’t cry at the remarkably accurate words; I have had so many obstacles come into my path. I have also come to see patterns, realizing that I have created some of these hurdles for myself.

Living day to day, spontaneously and not having plans or a strategy has yielded some amazing adventures and unexpected beauty, though it’s also given me hard and sometimes terrifying moments. I’m unbelievably stubborn and struggle to do things on my own; an example of me holding tightly onto what I can perceive as truth and knowledge. I’m also really hard on myself, as I continually claim to not be a perfectionist; when it comes to my inner monologue, I’m brutal. I’ve set rules and guidelines for myself as I’ve ventured through the maze of life, carrying distrust and betrayals hidden beneath my skin.

I’m feeling a bit jaded these days, and my stubborn optimism is fading into a sarcastic indifference as I assess my surroundings. I’m struggling to remain grateful and to keep smiling and being kind to those I meet, everyone else is going through their own issues too.

Forgiveness and Love are what will cure me, when I choose to accept them.

So what does it mean to be free? From where I sit in the corner of the jail I created for myself, freedom comes from within, just as love does. Freedom is allowing what is to be and letting the rest fade away. It’s hard to attain, I only had a taste and maybe it wasn’t even real. Now my question has changed to ask why am I sabotaging my own freedom? Like the more I desire to be free, the less free I have become.

This weekend, I shook loose my shackles. I started a job at Floyds Barbershop, a job I had started just over 2 years ago. I allowed myself to enjoy cutting hair. I allowed myself to talk to my clients and ask about their lives. I allowed myself to laugh and smile and be friendly with my new and old coworkers. This allowance, this opening is where I have found my freedom, my joy. I don’t need to succeed at a goal right when I think of it. The process is what makes the outcome. I may have felt like I’m stepping backwards, but as a friend reminded me, I’m stepping back in order to make a giant leap.

In the last week, I’ve decided to make a couple of changes regarding my blog. From now on, I will only release one a week, on Tuesdays. They will be less like my day to day moments I captured in the last few months, instead they will circle around issues I’ve been contemplating and experiencing. I hope in this context it will help to inspire open hearts and a continuation of love within my community.