The Element of Freedom – Vent LI

“And the day came 
When the risk it took 
To remain tight and closed in the bud 
Was more painful 
Than the risk it took bloom 
This is the element of freedom” – Alicia Keys

          How convenient that the title of this vent is that of the same as the last Alicia Keys album I purchased (she hasn’t been the same since, let’s be real here), but the main reason why I felt the need to revisit this album is because I was inspired recently by a RISE Poetry event, and the theme of the night was Freedom. The question of the night before the performances and activities began was: Was does freedom mean to you? This has been a question that has been asked for years, because what really is the definition of freedom? Not to be cliché, but there are different levels of freedom that many people try to explain – financial freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of oppression, and independent freedom being some examples.

That night, I forgot to give my definition of freedom, and it really didn’t hit me until I started to explain my story to other people about how I viewed it, although it had been reiterated earlier. The ability to do what you want in your life when you want to do it, is freedom. Being able to pursue something of your personal interest with all intentions of achieving that set goal is, is freedom. Not having to answer to anyone about what your life goals are, is freedom. It’s hard to attain it, because in a way, we’re not truly free. We’ll always have responsibilities to ourselves, people higher up (unless you’re your own boss, then it’s to other people), and also people who are around you. The price of freedom is one that comes with a great cost at times. Losing a source of income for a stretch of time (like I did) in order to gain that opportunity to do better for yourself (which I am) is something that isn’t advisable, but it’s still about that ability to take a risk to do better for yourself. The worst that can happen is that you’ll fall on your face, but you have to stand up, right?

“Two long centuries buried in the musty vault, hosed down daily with a gagging perfume.
America was a bastard, the illegitimate daughter of the mother country whose legs were then spread around the world and a rapist known as freedom, free doom.” – Gil-Scott Heron

I don’t live in The United States, but in their national anthem, the ending states that America is “the land of the free,” but then hear an uproar of revolt from the people who lash out towards the higher-ups because they feel as if they’re not yet free although they are told that they are. “It’s a free country” has always been a phrase I’ve never used, because if you’re truly ‘free’ to do whatever you want, then why are their overpowering laws that are usually unnecessarily enforced? Why do you have to pay taxes? Why is the cost of living so ridiculous for a constantly growing populace? There is no – free. There’s always a price to pay in order to keep the idea afloat.

Personal freedom might be not having to pay back any outstanding debts. It may be finishing your education by receiving that certification to release you from that educational institution that feels like an imprisonment. It may be the feeling of having your own space after living with your parents for the majority of your life; to be able to make your own decisions without being burdened with hardships. These are a few examples of freedoms that everyday people like myself would like to experience, and ultimately will experience.

You have the freedom to learn as much as you want, to travel where you want, to set goals and dare to achieve them. Many people surround themselves around an idea that they can’t do certain things because they encompass themselves within a circle from which they can’t go beyond its borders. Bob Marley said “none but ourselves can free our minds,” and the problem is that many people continue to pollute their minds with the notions that they’ll never be free: I’ll never pay off this debt, I’ll never be able to retire, I’ll never be able to live the life how I want to live it. I mean, everyone has their difficulties, but unless you unshackle yourselves from the barricades of negativity, of course you won’t move forward. Freedom can be physical, but it’s more mental than anything because thoughts are things, and they’re more powerful than you expect. Look at your obstacles, set a plan, and take off. Freedom is attainable not necessarily by any means, but more so your means, and at your pace. If it’s what you want, then what’s holding you back?

When the risk it took 
To remain tight and closed in the bud 
Was more painful 
Than the risk it took bloom

          What do you think those words mean? To stay locked inside will hurt you more than help you. Set yourself apart and see what you can do to step out into the world and attain the freedom that you were born to live with. It’s your choice, so what say you?

That’s My Word & It STiXX

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