It really is no surprise that I was found. I’m not very good at hiding. In fact, I was always the first one found during endless rounds of the game we loved so much as children; playing well into the night to distract us from the blistering July heat smothering us with rancid summer boredom. Not that I was really trying hard to conceal myself, like when I was a kid. Part of me knew I would have to face the music eventually and just wanted this updated adult version of the beloved classic over with already.
When I set off on this haphazard trek in search of my freedom, I had no idea what would be in store for me along the way. I knew there were huge risks involved when it came to choosing the path less traveled, but I was too naive to see just how dangerous those risks really were. My body and mind were that of the adult I had recently discovered I had become, but my soul was still that of a child- unaware and unassuming. Wisdom was still such a long ways off for my seventeen years; seemingly more of an old wive’s tale, passed down from one generation to the next, to ease the burdening fears people have about aging past their youthful prime.
I always knew something was different about me. I wasn’t cut from the same cloth as the others were where I came from. Those people were wholly satisfied with their cookie cutter suburbia and the pretentious societal box requirements – instilled upon us the very moment we took our first breath after the cord was cut. They thrived in this realm of standardized constringency and predicated stringencies. I wasn’t. I couldn’t. No matter how hard I worked to try, or, sometimes even not to try, I could not find happiness, belonging, or purpose within the confines of this imperiously scripted life.
So off I went, set to rebel against the system, The Man, the middle-class suburban mindset, and anything else which forced conformity while promoting monetary dependence and materialism. It was my mission not be another Suzy Homemaker who had gone to some Big Ten university to establish a respected career and, immediately following, married a man who only focuses on growing investments and expenditures which add to his precious nest egg, coupled with golf getaways and strip clubs on the sly. There would be no dreaming of minivans, book clubs, or being the perfect Soccer mom with the perfect, but boring, life. Those were nightmares to me. Exactly what I was running away and hiding from. My dreams, I believed, would always be about adventure, emotional connections, and tapping into the well of passion within my fiery soul. About discovering my purpose, my sexuality, and who I was from one day to the next. About a life governed by my desires and regulated by my experiences. Freedom. Resistance. Feeling alive.
I wanted to get married and have kids, still, but on my own terms. Without the pressure to adhere to the strictly structured plan society had created simply to define one’s worth. I didn’t want to live by the book or be conventional in any shape or form because then THEY would win.
For a long time, I stuck to my guns and traveled anywhere that would lead me far from the life expected of me. I crashed on various people’s couches, worked jobs that would only sustain my most basic of needs, and took risks that reflected anything but the Good Girl image my childhood peers had strived to maintain. I had no rules, no boundaries, and no desire to be defined by the tenuous labels of someone else’s standards. There was no stopping me. Drugs, drinking and partying with other freedom-seeking souls trying to escape the democracy we never asked to join fueled my mission, and a fresh tattoo coupled with alternative piercings were displayed like a scarlet letter to show the world I would not live in compliance.
I lived on the edge, defying everything that had been drilled into my existence from the moment I began to develop in utero. Anything to escape the nightmares dreams of mainstream suburbia haunted me with.
Somehow, though, they found me. Deep down I knew I couldn’t run from those phantasmal ideals forever. I came to realize through the course of my rebellion that conformity is more omnipotent than individualization and true freedom. My escape was futile and all in vain at the end of the road. It was impossible to live freely outside the constraints of the societal structure without feeling the insufferable weight of financial dependency once children and marriage became part of the equation. Society is an altruistic prison in which humans entombed themselves within, long ago. There is no liberation from it. Not when parenthood comes into play because everything changes when you realize you’ve been tasked with the responsibility of raising the next generation of freedom seekers and emulators.
I never expected my nightmares to come full circle the way they have. Never did I imagine that the one thing I spent years hiding from would become the one thing I wished I could have, but here I am. I feel like the world’s biggest hypocrite for it, too.
Yet, I also feel strangely empowered, as I have gained wisdom and understanding which most others will never be privileged enough to sample a taste of. Things I can use, not to fight against the system as ineffectively as my youthful naivety set out to do, but fight to better the system from within so my children don’t have to rebel against the miscarriages of justice which keep us all imprisoned by the labels of a cookie cutter society. And I cannot do it without dreaming of the life that I never wanted to live because I have no choice but to play the game necessary to put me in the position to change the rules once and for all.
Your “Secret Subject” is: Oh no, they found you. What do you do?
It was submitted by: http://dinoheromommy.com/
Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts. Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:
The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver
Confessions of a part time working mom
3 thoughts on “Lost And Found Freedom Seeker”
Lost and found, yes, but it’s the steps in between that matter. I went through a lot of this myself but I’m now watching my kids go through it, especially my oldest. He’s trying to navigate the space between idealistic and realistic and I’m trying to keep my mouth shut as he does.
That seems like such a life lesson: to run so far in one direction, only to end up back where you started. I guess that’s where you’re meant to be!
It’s like you explained my whole life a helluva lot better than I could! Very well done!