Connie Jones, another member of the world who has been forced to step out of her own skin to adapt to life in different situations, is weighing in on this week’s questions: What does it mean to be free? and Why do I live the way that I live? Two tough questions, but that can be therapeutic to try and answer.
When you finish reading what Connie has to say, take a few moments to write out your own response. You’ll surely find that talking about this stuff will help. If you want to see the questions again and remind yourself what Voices is all about, all the info is here or you can send your responses directly to:
They will be posted here unedited. Just be yourself, speak your mind and don’t be afraid. Not sure how to answer the question, then maybe let us know what the word “freedom” makes you think of, or how you express it in your daily life, at work, at school, with your friends, with your family. There is not one answer to these questions, but that’s the point.
Here’s what Connie has to say:
To be free is to be many things…
It means to be your own decider: the decider of what I can wear, where I can live, what I can do with my own body, what I can say, and what I can see and read.
It also means to not have a plan: to go where you choose, stay as long as you want, sleep in, come and go as you please, have no time limits.
It means to be in control: of my own actions, of who my friends are, who I can love, what I believe or don’t believe in.
It means to not be denied: Your rights as a human, protection to your family, proper medical attention, your chance to learn, grow, and achieve.
It means to have no one else hold you back: To be creative, to speak out, to eat that second piece of cake, to make mistakes.
Why do I live the way I live?
I don’t really know how to define ‘how I live.’ This is a pretty broad for me. Maybe it’s because I am constantly trying to figure this idea out and I am not always happy with the way I live right now so maybe it’s a sensitive issue. How I do live and how I want to live are still different things that I haven’t been able to quite bring together.
I have lived in Germany for 2 years now. Something I have learned in this time and continue to learn is that I need to do things that scare me in order to move forward. I try to live my life this way, but it is not an everyday occurrence, and the high of doing something new/ scary doesn’t always last as long as other times. I have also learned that most of the time, one needs to create the opportunities and not wait for them to come around. But the truth is that where I sometimes take these leaps or close my eyes and jump, I also find myself waiting….
This is many times out of fear; fear of losing precious time, fear of not having money, fear of isolation, fear of failure (there, I said it!).
It comes also out of not always being conscious of what has become status quo. Comfort is…well…comforting and when we get into that nest of comfort it gets harder and harder to come out into the cold and unknown the longer we stay.
There are obvious obstacles when one moves abroad; language, time differences, food, people. These are things that, while they may never be mastered or completely feel like home, are adaptable and after some time become not so foreign. But for me it is always forcing me to change the way I live. I had to consciously make the effort or create opportunities to meet people, practice my language, and see new places that seemed to come easier when I was living in the US. Why do I live the way I live? I’ll probably keep asking some variation of that question to myself until my dying day, but my goal will always be to try and bridge that gap between how I do live and how I want to live.