The Eternal Quest for Freedom

The Eternal Quest for Freedom



What do we mean by creating freedom in our lives? What is true freedom? Why do we hunger for such a thing, when we’re not even sure exactly what we’re after. Certainly life is a quest, we long to live wonderful, thriving, successful, happy, fulfilled lives. But then there’s this biting aspect called some version of “don’t fence me in”. The desire to not be limited, not be boxed in, And it’s a fierce, fiery desire for sure. Some have it more than others, that feeling of “”I will not be tamed” “I will not be controlled by outside forces” “I will not be told what to do, or how to live my life”. “I will be free!”

There are those amongst us that seem to love to control others, things, life itself if possible. But there’s a far greater mass of us that don’t care about controlling others, or the world around us one little bit; however we are passionate about not being controlled! Is that a control mechanism all of its own I wonder?

I have always identified myself as a free spirit. That identity must have started when I was very young, as I was always off on my own, going on adventures, climbing the huge trees in Cambridge, England. Riding my bike to who knows where. Loving to get lost and feeling the thrill of disorientation that would bring. Even as a very little girl I was like this. When I was lucky enough to be the only passenger in the car with just my dad, I would beg him to get us lost. He would play the game with me so well, and I would thoroughly believe him when he’d state that he had no idea where we were, or how  we would ever find our way home. The darker the evening became the more thrilling was our adventure. And then we’d stumble upon a small road stand and dad would buy us fish and chips. Which was brilliant, as we’d eat them in the car, ravenously unwrapping them from the outside newspaper and inside waxed paper. I remember the smell of the greasy newspaper so well, and I’ll admit I’ve never again had fish and chips that tasted that good!

But what happens when you go to school, have to take exams and eventually grow up and “be somebody?” My first day of school, when I had just turned 4 years old a couple of days beforehand, was miserable. Why? Because I brought my favourite toys to school, two silver pistols in a holster around my waist, that could shoot caps. And oh did I have rolls of caps ready and waiting! The teacher immediately took them away and placed them up on her high desk for the day. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t have my toys, and I was furious! I stared at them all day, and didn’t give a whit about what I was being indoctrinated into. All I wanted was the day to be over, and to get my pistols back!

I left home at 10 years old to train at the Royal Ballet School, and was a full time boarder for 5 years. The school was in the middle of Richmond Park (close to 4,000 square miles of pure, splendid, unadulterated nature.) It was stunning, but needless to say there were bars on all the windows and very strict rules about not running away. The penalty was expulsion. I was the undisputed ring leader of my form, always doing naughty things like persuading the girls to run into the forbidden “boys block” in the evenings, or to sneak to the kitchens in the night to steal food for midnight feasts. Anything to break the monotony of feeling hemmed in. Trapped. By the tender age of 15 I was living in my own flat in the heart of London… free at last. Though still studying at the Royal Ballet Upper School for another 3 years until I finished all my training, I could do whatever I wanted outside of the committed training hours. My favourite thing was going to midnight films in Leicester Square, and walking home through Soho at 2 or 3am. Now, on reflection, I know I must have had heavy duty angels walking on either side of me, for I never got hassled in those very seedy areas of London on those adventures. Not even once.

Oh and then there were boys. Hmmm, let’s not get started on the boys! Actually, the truth is I fell madly in love with a boy when I was 12 (he was 13) at the Royal Ballet School, and ended up living with him by the time I was 17. He was my love. Until I found out he’d cheated on me with one of our best friends. My heart was shattered into a million pieces, and then all fury broke out. The night he finally told me the truth, though I’d been asking him for over a year, was the night I tried to get out of his fast moving car. Freaked us both out, that’s for sure! That’s when I went on a quest to find solace (or was it unmitigated vengeance?) with the other boys, including his best friend, and left him forever very soon after that – of course.  Unbridled passion was what I sought in no uncertain terms. And that is what I found.

Later (not much later) I got into motorcycle riding. Fast. Very fast. Crazy fast. Why you might wonder? Well it simply gave me the exquisite thrill of speed, that sense of freedom that I was always looking for, always wanting to experience. Is it a thrill we seek? Is it the sense of no limits, like being a spirit without a body? My favourite speed was 100 miles (or more) an hour, and I almost died several times with that crazy addiction to speed. It wasn’t that I ever had a death wish. I just wanted exhilaration. That fabulous feeling of freedom.

After a career as a professional ballet dancer, where I definitely didn’t like the director always calling the shots on what parts I would dance, etc., I left that authoritative, male dominated world to start my life anew. Another adventure. I ended up studying natural medicine (amongst some other super cool things) and eventually had my own practice, along with getting married and having three kids. Actually, the marriage happened well after two of the children were already born. Typical you might say! When I found out that this man had cheated on me whilst I was pregnant with our first child I wanted to curl up and die. But I didn’t know how to stop the world, nor how to leave my suddenly very unfortunate situation. I was with child, in a foreign country, without any substantial money of my own. Trapped. Yet, I wanted this child so much. I was already head over heels in love with this unborn babe. So I stayed. Our second child followed very quickly after the first. But the heart bond with my man was completely broken, fully severed, and I knew it.

The day I got married the skies were dark, black even, and it rained extremely heavily all day. It was a day filled with foreboding. To the point that my legs went numb just before I was to walk down the aisle. I told my dad “I can’t walk”. His response was “don’t be silly darling”. But it was the truth, I was momentarily paralyzed. My body was warning me in no uncertain terms  “Don’t do this”. But I did it anyway. I was my new husband’s fourth wife. I guess forewarned wasn’t forearmed! My mind talked me out of what my body was very clear about: “Don’t marry this man.” For I had two young babies to take care of, and that was my highest priority bar none. I had to create some semblance of security for them, for us.

Many years later, after I’d worked my ass off for a few years, to create a vibrantly successful business as an entrepreneur (a great way to create freedom right?), we bought a gorgeous big home. Our first, finally. But I have to be honest… the day my husband bought the fancy grill and put it out on the back porch, it was somehow the kiss of death. I felt completely sick inside. Life had become so painfully predictable. It was as if I heard the proverbial bell tolling a hideous death knell. It was the final nail in a coffin prepared long before I was willing to admit how deeply unhappy I was. How deeply trapped I felt, living a life with a man who had betrayed me, whom I no longer loved, for the sake of our children’s wellbeing. I knew then, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it was time to go. Meeting another man far away, on my business travels, whom I became enamoured with, did act as a catalyst for sure. But the die had been cast long long before.

Soon after the excruciating divorce due to the heartbreak of our children, my now ex-husband, married his fifth wife. He hardly missed a beat. So much so that it took my breath away, almost literally. Some men just need a woman by their side at all costs. I guess he was one of those. It just is what it is, we are all simply who we are. And I am one who needs a lot of breathing room, and diverse adventure, of one kind or another.

Along with owning two convertible Porsches (not at the same time mind you) that were glorious to drive fast through the elegantly curving mountain roads of Colorado, I traveled to many countries with my business. So many enthralling new discoveries. New languages, new customs, new landscapes, new business growth. I lived back and forth between Colorado and Australia with the man I’d met, who was now my fiance, for 4 amazing years. We explored so many distinctively different parts of Australia, I simply couldn’t get enough. For I could finally, once again, feel the sense of expansion in my soul, the feeling of endless curiosity, that feeling of getting lost that I had loved so dearly with my father when I was such a little girl.

What is this quest for freedom? Is it buried deep in every human being? Or does it just reside within some of us? Are there those who are better suited to the safer life, the more predictable secure life? I really don’t know. But I do know that it a mysterious longing, like a bright flame that never seems to go out within my own heart. I don’t understand it, I just know I shouldn’t squelch it, not now, not ever. Even if it makes life highly unpredictable, yet this desire for freedom, for adventure, is in my very bones. It always will be. And so it is.


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