Freedom

Ever since I took a job in marketing, I’ve been dreaming of revolutions: war, beheadings, political imprisonment. This is odd for several reasons, the root of which being I’m not unhappy with my career decision, and that isn’t repression talking. It’s not like those dreams where I’m wearing a black wedding dress, wandering around in empty rooms. I don’t have to be a Freudian analyst to figure that one out.

“I have been trying, for some time now,” Maggie Nelson writes in Bluets, “to find dignity in my loneliness.”

There was a time when I yearned for an impossible choice, but of course, that was before I knew what I was asking. Now I wonder why it seems there are always concessions, why I can never find the line between the two definitions of compromise.

Wallace Stevens wrote a poem called “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird.” It’s one of those poems I’ve never really understood, though it was highly touted in my Modern American Poetry class in college. This line, though, I get: “It was evening all afternoon.”

Yesterday, I realized—or rather, remembered—that there will never be enough time or money or things. Getting begets wanting, ad infinitum. And so, while desiring more isn’t wrong, per se, I have to be careful about the manner in which I’m desiring, careful that I’m not buying into the lie that anything on this earth—no matter how much I have—will ever truly satisfy.

What Rilke poses in Duino Elegies, though, is different: “Strange to no longer desire one’s desires. Strange / to see meanings that clung together once, floating away / in every direction.”

There are a thousand kinds of women whom I will never be. But maybe I can stop being the kind of woman who meets a troubled man and thinks, Well, at least he’s honest about it. Admitting the problem is only “the first step” if you then take another, and then another. Otherwise, you’re still the same person, just occupying a slightly different space.

In A Feather on the Breath of God, Sigrid Nunez writes, “Someone has said: to be a woman is always to be hiding something.”

I used to get upset when crying babies wouldn’t let me hold them. Now, I accept it, like the passing of time, like the hot water running out in the middle of my shower, like the alarm going off and snatching me from sleep, just before the warden notices I’ve escaped.

I’m trying to find the freedom in continually repeating, I have no idea what I want.

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