Posts tagged ‘freedom’

February 22, 2011

A question of freedom

by f

Flickr, via Jim Linwood

My friend S’s hit a rough patch. On our way home from the city today, we talked a little about it. Then, she asked me a startling question:

“Which would you rather have,” she asked, “personal freedom, or financial freedom?”

I asked her what she meant by that.

“I have financial freedom,” she said, “and you have a certain degree of personal freedom. You can go and do what you like during the day when your folks aren’t around to interfere.”

“I guess I do,” I said, staring out into the highway abyss.

S has financial freedom, but work eats up her time. She’s on call throughout. I don’t have those constraints. I can tell work to fuck off. And often, I do.

But I don’t have any money. I am always at my parents’ beck and call. They can trash me, my things, denigrate me in public, and use me as a whipping post. They interrupt me constantly. On weekends and the days that I are home, I feel so miserable I can’t think. I have to beg for permission to do anything.

Often, my privileges are taken away on a whim. I am subject to an insane level of scrutiny because I live at home. I earn enough to have small bursts of spending money, but not enough even to afford a small room to myself, and that is how I fund my daily activities. Anything beyond that, I can’t help myself.

So what kind of life do I prefer? Uncertainty but day-to-day contentment? Or security and general dissatisfaction?

I often thought to myself that I’d trade the small bursts of free happiness for a life of security. Now, I’m just not sure what I want. I have no idea how to answer that question.

However, it’s made me think a lot about my daily activities and how I live my life. I know I’m unusual. I fill my time with people that I like and do things I want, but I have very little material freedom.

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July 27, 2010

Freedom is not having to lie.

by f

via flickr user Dietpoison

I am a very, very good liar. Nobody ever knows what I’m truly up to. Chances are, if I say I’m somewhere, I’m not.

For instance, take this week. My parents think I’m staying with a friend while they’re overseas. Instead, I am having amazing, amazing sex with my fiance in his underground crazy-dark lair buried deep in J Sq.

My piano teacher thinks that I’m languishing in my Jersey suburban home. My father told me — in no uncertain terms — that I should not go to class while my mother is not here (she takes lessons as well) because it messes up his accounting.

All right.

But my teacher became very insistent, so I lied. He wanted to know where I was and why I couldn’t come in. So I started smoothing out the edges of my story. The bustling scape of Union Square became the television. When I closed my eyes as I stood on that crowded street — moments before I was supposed to meet my friend Tiffany — I felt that I was really alone on the futon chair, watching Law and Order, as I would have done if I stayed home. I felt genuinely sad; being stuck in that suburban hellhole is no fun.

I made my voice feel stretched and lonely and a little frightened. It was method acting taken to a new level, just one more rung on the ladder to hell.

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