To Be Free

I spent a great deal of time worrying. I was either hinged upon emotion or dependent upon people, places, and things, which I believed were parts of my identity. I was so afraid to be alone. I was afraid that my fears may be true; that I was nothing more than the sum of my concerns and that I was truly incapable.

It was a several years ago, I remember. It’s been more than a decade since the first step to a major change. I remember the day I stepped away from the crowds. I remember when I chose me instead of other people.
I remember an early June morning when I woke up and I was alone; and I mean truly alone. I was alone for the first time.
No one was around to tell me what to do or where to go. I was free but scared. I was frightened but lonely; but yet, at the same time, I knew this is what had to happen. I knew that I could not be hinged upon anyone or anything ever again. I had to set myself free. I knew that I was my own jailer. I was the warden and prisoner. It was only me that could free myself, but yet again, I knew a move like this was far more braver than anything I had ever done before.

I just wanted to wake up without thinking too much. I did not want to be hinged upon every decision. I didn’t want the fear anymore and most certainly, I did not want to feel depressed anymore.

I was never in love nor did I have the love I truly wanted. I was like a child, unsure how to dance but in love with music, and yet, too afraid to try to dance in case someone else was watching. I felt odd, like I had never been truly kissed or made love to. Everything was give and take. Everything was counted, this for that. Everything was a trade but when was it my turn to walk out on top?
I was unsure how to live, but yet, I was eager to feel the sun on my face. I wanted to find my toes in the sand or stand perfectly alone in a rolling field with the grass at my feet.
I spent so much time investing in others in order to gain something that I never invested in me. I never dared. I never tried. I just followed a blueprint that was made for someone else’s life.

I remember thinking about the people in my world and came to the sad realization that it was always me calling them. It was always me reaching out, and had it not been me; I came to the conscious understanding that there would be no effort whatsoever.
I was a piece; I was a cog; I was a part of a moving object—always trying to keep the movement and always trying to keep interest. Always overselling myself to discount my flaws.
I was frequently intimidated by my anticipations of either lonesomeness or the fearful sting of not being wanted
(or welcome.)
I tried so hard for so long to be “Someone” and feel “Connected,” that I became so tired and so beaten. I began to implode and mentally shut down.
I knew I wanted to be free.
I wanted to feel free, but how?
I wanted to be able to step outside my door and not be hinged on what might or might not happen next.

It’s that first step though. it’s that initial charge, God, this was so intimidating. I knew what awaited me on the other side. I knew there was hope. However, there was so much unknown and too many things I could not plan for, which is why I stayed as I was.
I remained in my unfit surroundings because at least I knew what I have. At least I understood the rules of engagement.

Only thing is I didn’t want to engage anymore. . .

Finally, my need to feel better overcame my fears of being alone. This is when I was fine to step away. This is when I stood up from the table, pushed my chair in, and walked away from the wrong people and the wrong places without apology and without so much as a word to explain why I was leaving.

I had tried to step away before. I had tried to choose me over other influences in my life; however, it always seemed as if people laughed at me, as if to say, “What are you thinking? You know you’ll be back.”
And whether this was real or not or whether this was only my perception; still, I believed this and therefore, it was previously and painfully true.
I always came back because I was always afraid and thinking, “Where else am I going to go?”

I never saw me or my worth. I never understood my value nor did I understand what happens when I compromised my worth.
I just gave myself away. I gave in to the wrong relationships. I committed to the wrong people. I hung around with the wrong crowd because it seemed better to pretend and be with people than be honest and with nobody.

There is a strange addiction we have to each other; the codependent, the enabler, the one that breathes out so someone else can breathe in. Everything was a trade; only I grew tired because I never felt as if I received my worth.
I settled in too many ways, which degraded me more and more, consecutively and almost compulsively, I continued to invest in ideas with little to no return.
I gave in to the sunk cost fallacy; I invested more because I was afraid of the initial loss growing deeper into deficit.

In business terms, the sunk cost fallacy is what happens when an investor continues to invest money because of the investor doesn’t want to lose more.  
But they do lose. In fact, they lose more.
They continue to lose because they are misled by a false notion that if they give more, eventually, they will receive more.
Or at least they will receive something. This is a business term but as I see it; this also applies in personal and intimate relationships. I know because I kept investing and kept hoping that someday, I might get the return I always dreamed of.
But I never did

I just wanted to feel free.
But how?

I found an old post of mine from more than a year ago, which fits this perfectly.
I wrote about the stoic and the idea of not being so deeply rooted or connected to passion.

This is not to say that I would no longer be passionate but instead, I would no longer be addicted to my connections with counterproductive emotions and overly emotional thinking.
Also, this meant that I would be free to be me; free to live as I choose and free to think without the concern for outside opinion or how others are affected by my choices.

All I had to do was take that first step.

The stoic:
to be free from passion or grief, to be unmoved, to endure without response, to submit without complaint, and to withstand life’s terms without allowing them to dictate a response.
This is the stoic, unhinged and unattached to outcome and free to feel, be, think, without the constant need to consider everything or everyone else.
I like that.

The definition I found on Stoicism is copied as follows:
sto·i·cism ˈstōəˌsizəm/
noun 1. 1.
the endurance of pain or hardship without a display of feelings and without complaint.
synonyms: patience, forbearance, resignation, fortitude, endurance, acceptance, tolerance, phlegm “She accepted her sufferings with remarkable stoicism”

2. 2.
an ancient Greek school of philosophy founded at Athens by Zeno of Citium. The school taught that virtue, the highest good, is based on knowledge, and that the wise live in harmony with the divine Reason (also identified with Fate and Providence) that governs nature, and are indifferent to the vicissitudes of fortune and to pleasure and pain.

I think in troubled times or when fate appears grim or when a huge change is about to take place, to be stoic or unmoved and to be able to endure without so much as a flinch or to withstand without complaint was like a dream to me.

But I wondered—
is it truly possible to be indifferent or to be unmoved when life falls apart? Is this to say we do not feel when feelings are so raw?
No, I don’t think this is the case at all.
We still feel. We still have pain. We have bad days and bad things but the freedom behind the stoic (or stoicism) is the feelings we have can pass and the poor circumstances we find ourselves with can no longer define us.

I agree that a life lived in a constant state of emotional response will always remain emotional. Therefore, life lived in a constant state logical response will remain logical.
I don’t have to pick everything apart and dissect each thought by placing it under the looking glass to see if anything is deeper or hidden.
Instead, I can move on without being leashed to things which are out of my control.

Feelings are a funny thing. Feelings are just emotions tied to experiences. In which case, our mind is just a computer that adds up the tally of different events; therefore, creating a pattern of, “If X then Y,” and 1 + 1 = 2.
The math in our head is not always accurate, but yet, we assume the inaccurate sum of our fears and divide them with a hint of pessimistic memory (or a lack of trust.)
But keep in mind, memory is shaded by perception and perception is also an inaccurate math. This is where our assumptions come from and where our expectations live.

At one point (I swear) I would have jumped at the chance to hit a switch and have my feelings shut down.
Sure, I wanted to be free from insecurity and indifferent to pain and boredom. I wanted to be rid the overly-analytical thought, and be unafraid, and to feel comfortable with my effort regardless to the outcome.  
Doesn’t everybody?

Easier said than done. Right?
Maybe . . .
Butt easier said than done doesn’t mean this can’t be done.
This just means freedom isn’t free.
Everything takes work.

There is a word for all of this, by the way, which I will tell you about.
The word is “Balance.”
It took me a long time to learn the true meaning of the word balance. And sure, I heard the word before. I knew what balance is but I never really knew what it meant to feel balanced.

I also knew what the word serenity meant but I never knew what it meant to feel serene or that I would have to surrender all my fears and concerns to find it.

I spent decades trying to cover my so-called imperfections. I spent most of my life trying to prove something but to no avail.
I spent more energy trying to hide from me than accepting me from who I am, which in turn, caused me to fail inwardly and break down.
I imploded and more accurately, I emotionally collapsed and felt deflated, as if the air in my lungs was no longer enough to let me breathe.

My best description of how I felt was out of control. I always felt as though I was losing or on the verge of losing. I felt the weight of impending doom was always upon my shoulders.
To paint a better picture, I felt like I was losing like water loses to a drain. I was losing to depressive thinking. I was losing to my own self. More importantly, I was losing days and losing time, which is above all thins is truly irretrievable.

This is a case of what I call Mid-Mind Dominance. The mid-mind is the emotional brain.
This is when I allow fearful emotions to dictate my next move. This is when I react irrationally or inappropriately.
Mid-Mind Dominance is life given to fear; this is life in response to the inaccurate math in my head.
This is where paranoia comes from. This is where memory recalls history and calculates the pertinent details of my old moral injuries and in this mindset where I suspect that all are guilty until proven innocent.

(By the way, moral injury is another word for PTSD and PTSD is more common than most people think)

To be stoic:
To be free from overthinking and overly emotional being is not to be without emotion but to be free to allow the emotion to be without holding on to it for dear life.

To be stoic
To allow logic its place and to pacify one’s inner fears; to rectify the emotional math that just never adds up right; to achieve balance without the use of a crutch; to surrender to win; to be alive without the misconceptions of inaccurate and fear-based math.

This doesn’t mean I don’t care . . .
I care plenty
It just means I learn to keep things in perspective instead of holding on for dear life and overreacting to things beyond my control.

It all started the day I decided to let go
When will it start for you?

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