This bright morning, I’m singing Good Morning Freedom! (Def Leppard) In reality it’s misty outside, early this Sunday. But everything feels and looks bright to me because I have my life back! My freedom back! Finally!
Yesterday afternoon, the ex, he loaded his possessions into a van while I took the pack for a walk to the sea. I didn’t want my youngest hound to witness him leaving as she’s quite attached. He did fuss on her and cook her treats so it’s not totally unfounded affection on her part. He had many, many faults but he was good with animals, it was actually what had attracted me to him. I’ve always believed people who are good with animals are essentially good people. Turns out they can make lousy husbands though.
While we walked, me and the dogs, looking out to sea at the fishing boats, tears welled in my eyes. Tears of pure relief and joy – I felt free, free for the first time again in a long time. Another feeling welled up too, I felt like myself again. I’d always had a free spirit in me. It’s why I love travelling, have moved about so much and I’ve always maintained my independence in a relationship. The ex leaving is a dark cloud moving from my horizon. I was independent, but his mood-swings, temper and volatility had had a controlling effect on me. Everything on my walk looked brighter, the colour of the sky, the sea, the undulating hills in the distance and the smiles on the faces of passers-by, as they smiled back at me.
I’ve paid for this freedom, paid in every way – financially, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and in sweat and tears. I’ve fought hard for it, keeping my head and playing a complex battle of wits and hearts to win it back.
How carelessly and quickly I once gave it away. Shackling myself to the wrong man because I followed my heart. I followed it mercilessly. I fell in love hard, in a heady backdrop of jungle and volcanic beach. I’d been reading The Alchemist on that beach, one of my favourite Paulo Coelho books. I some what blame that book for what followed, though I’ll always love the story dearly. More correctly, I blame my interpretation of it rather than the wisdom the author was trying to bestow.
Being strong enough to overcome most anything for the one I love, not a problem for me. Countless obstacles were placed in our way of being together. Trust me on this, I’m not going to go into the details of that time as it would literally take the space of a whole novel – there were a lot, a lot – a lot! My romantic heart thought it must’ve been because you have to battle for true love. Now I see it was most likely a benevolent higher force trying very hard to show me this wasn’t the right path. They tried very, very hard indeed, but there was no stopping me. I eventually wore down their good intention and cracked on with making my mistakes. I didn’t realise then I was running towards giving up my freedom and laying myself down for a far weaker individual to feed from my spirit. The wonderful, well-travelled writer and photographer Mari kindly advised me – compassion can be manipulated by others. I’d always thought of it as a jewel that couldn’t be corrupted so hadn’t spotted that potential peril. Thank you, Mari, you are right.
My foolish, hopeless romantic heart led me right up the garden path! All that effort and energy into another person, I should have loved myself more. I’m not someone with low self-esteem so I didn’t understand the whole “love yourself” thing, I thought I did. But my empathy and compassion has continuously put others needs first, mostly on autopilot, so I didn’t even notice I’m wasn’t being loving towards myself. A spiritual woman in New Zealand told me in my youth to be careful because you can’t change your basic nature and that I was nurturer, therefore I’d attract all the birds with broken wings and I’d want to mend them all. She was right. It’s truly hard to fight your basic instincts, it’s something I’m going to have to actively keep in my awareness from now on. Keep my wits about me and ask, ‘what value is this to me?’ Consistent “correcting-course”, as the wise writer Mr Roger Baker told me. Smart people listen to smart people. I’ll be mindful to do just that from now on, I picture it in my minds eye as my boat’s sail, hear the gentle snap of it in the sea wind – with the tiller firmly in my hand.
I’m off to dance around my own house, in my pyjamas singing “Good Morning Freedom!” at the top of my lungs. This is truly a joyful morning.