Freedom must be one of the most commonly used words in American English. It’s a constant in the rhetoric of politicians, educators, religious leaders, and—oh, yeah—of marketing professionals. And it means something different to every one of them, often to the same person at different times. Most seem to equate it with what they see as their individual right to do whatever-it-is that they wish to do, and give the word specially loud emphasis when what they wish to do is contrary to others’ rights, real or perceived, or to the law. In some ways, I tend to think of Freedom as a much smaller thing with a much larger personal impact: freedom from my own limitations.
That’s the freedom I seek, and I suppose, the freedom that only I can grant myself, but am persistently too fearful to dare. Afraid to consider, let alone accept. Amazing, when I reflect on it, that I’ve gotten to this ripe old age, let alone had such a full, joyful life, without being quite able to let go of my inborn fragility of spirit. But there it is. I limit myself to solo singing in an empty house, to dancing behind closed doors. It doesn’t really matter that nobody else would pay that much attention if I did this stuff right along with everyone else; it’s that I feel self-conscious and awkward and don’t like my self-image as singer or dancer or anything so near to being extroverted.
Does this make me unhappy? No. It’s more mysterious than upsetting…I love to hear good singers sing, watch uninhibited dancing. I admire people who are extroverted enough to do whatever they jolly well please without regard to how silly it might make them feel. I like to think I don’t care how silly it makes me feel. But I’m holding on to a modicum of insecurity about not wanting to make other people feel a teensy bit uncomfortable with my gross incompetence. Silly me. Really.