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Freedom Thieves

by Brooke Richter 3 months ago in humanity
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The Freedom Thieves leave you powerless and trapped, if not in their prison, then in your own.

picture taken by Brooke Richter of her cat, Mr. Darcy, who is hanging out just because he can

Freedom is the sound of the bat smashing into the ball, and the feel of dirt under your cleats as you race to first base.

Freedom is the smell of your grandma’s waffles, wafting from the kitchen on a Saturday morning after waking up to the sound of sizzling bacon, and not your alarm clock.

Freedom is the grip your boyfriend has on your hand as he pulls you from hovering parents and into his dad’s Chevy, still idling at the curb.

Freedom is the shudder of tequila and grimace of lime on a Friday night after a long week that just Never. Seemed. To. End.

Freedom is the smile and laugh that you carelessly throw around during a long work day, just trying to make the mundane office bearable for the poor trapped souls inside, without being accused of being a flirt or having ill intentions. Apparently being too friendly is a crime, and being too strict is boring, and adhering to double standards just won’t ever go away.

Freedom is the ability to walk down empty streets without jumping at the slightest sound of shuffling in dark corners, or leaning away from every passing stranger on the sidewalk because one of them might Grab. You.

Freedom is the decision you get to make when you can climb into any taxi with the certainty that you’re going straight home. It is the gift of not having to psychoanalyze your own small talk; it’s not having the constant stream of consciousness where you tell yourself, “be just friendly enough so your driver won’t want to take advantage of you, but not so friendly that he thinks you are ‘asking for it’”.

Freedom is the opportunity to run in your neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon with both earbuds in and empty hands that are able to face palm-up to the sky as you soak in the goodness of your community. It’s the gift of not having to worry about being followed by a gardening truck that is supposed to “blend in '' while they follow girls into cul de sacs to ask for directions.

What kind of gardeners work on a Sunday afternoon?

What kind of taxi driver turns his light off a minute into the ride?

What kind of man grabs without consent?

The loss of freedom is destructive.

Disastrous.

Devastating.

The pain of having the choice, the ability, the decision ripped from your hands so that you are held at another’s mercy creates a calamitous, catastrophic craze that cannot be healed without consistent, coherent, copacetic choice.

Freedom should be your inalienable right to simply exist without having to defend your thoughts, body, and soul from those who would manipulate and control just to steal your peace of mind. The Freedom Thieves leave you powerless and trapped, if not in their prison, then in your own. Locked in a broken heart where paralysis reigns as your new Master. Any new decision could lead you down the path of loss, so why bother making the decision at all?

Freedom is having the conviction to make a decision and follow through on the consequences with the confidence to handle any curve balls thrown your way.

Freedom is being able to tell people what you actually think of them, even if it’s not polite. It’s messy, and mean, and passionate and authentic.

Freedom is saying what you mean and meaning what you say. It’s overcoming censorship. It’s being a Truth Warrior, even when it’s easier to lie and cheat.

Most importantly, freedom is that feeling when you’re jumping on the trampoline and someone bounces a little too close, so you keep falling and falling, long past your expectation of reaching the mat. Excitement turns to fear, but it happens so fast that you feel silly for being worried. Your stomach does a little flip, and your heart skips a beat, and you’re thinking “I’m going to keep falling forever” while your soul leaves your body for just a minute. You’re left with a lightness that you only experience as a child who is secure in the knowledge that eventually you will return to earth, because nothing lasts forever, not even falling on the trampoline.

Until one day, your soul leaves your body for more than just a minute, and one minute turns into eternity. When your soul becomes light, you become free.

humanity

About the author

Brooke Richter

Writer | Traveler | Educator

MSc History- University of Edinburgh, 2019

BS Anthropology + Geography- Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, 2018

Find me on Instagram: @_brookerichter

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