40 Lessons at 40

Lesson #34

By Venus Souls

I have learnt the hard way that freedom is the single most important right one must always fight for. That all our endeavours ultimately revolve around gaining and practising our right to absolute freedom and independence. As a woman of colour raised in a traditional, muslim family – with a strong allegiance to patriarchy – in the West, I have had my fair share of challenges that have only strengthened my conviction to empower women everywhere to embrace and practise their freedom.

I’ve been labelled ‘rebel’ so often as a child, I wondered if it was my middle name. When they said it, they made it sound like it was an insult, a dirty word. Like I was somehow less for wanting more. A rebel is someone who goes against the tide but to me I just fought for what I believed was right and just. Freedom, I was told, was not for me. It was for the heathens and badly behaved women of society. What would I do with freedom, I was constantly asked. I, apparently a more refined breed, was destined for the 7 Prisons: mental prison, emotional prison, physical prison, intellectual prison, technological prison, financial prison and spiritual prison.

“Freedom is nothing but a chance to be better.”

Albert Camus

This is not a blogpost about victimhood or about naming and shaming my prison guards. I am grateful to have been so challenged that my rebel muscle has become supernatural. No one understands the value of freedom more than someone who’s known the pains of prison for so long. It becomes your driving force and motivation towards even greater freedom.

Everyone has experienced being held behind the bars of at least one of those prisons. I did not see those bars until I grew much older and saw them for what they were. It took me years to realise I was deeply conditioned to think and behave in a certain way and I only realised it once I got out of my comfort zones and saw how much damage this conditioning had done.

Everyone has their own style of fighting and their own weapon of choice. Mine was reading. The first prison door I broke was my intellectual one. I read like books were going out of style. I read the words of those who wrote freely about freedom or about oppression and how they wished to be released. I read all the books I was never allowed to read. I read about all the religions and sects within them. I read the myths and legends of different people to understand their blueprints. I read all the different opinions, debates, arguments, stories, myths… whatever I could get my hands on, I read. My mental muscle grew and broke its chains and with that the rest of my chains fell apart and it was easier to disentangle myself out of them.

It was not the ideas themselves that I found most liberating but the fact that we are, as a race, capable of such a variety and diversity of ideas that it seemed illogical to me that there was a monopoly on the truth or being ‘absolutely right’ and dictating how everyone else should think. Group thinking, where a group believes they have a monopoly on the truth and therefore how they do things is the only right way of doing it, is how cults rise and freedoms fall. Every group thinks they are the chosen people and all chosen people believe they’re the only ones going to heaven and everyone else is going to hell. In truth, this is how they have created hell right here on earth.

I’m amazed that there are still people who fear freedom – their own as well as others’. People who risk losing control over people’s lives are often the ones who despise it the most. I’ve seen people kill one another fighting over their fear of losing control. They are the prisoners of their own fears. Fear is the walls and bars of those prisons holding us back from our right to freedom.

Without freedom, we are not free to be who we are. We are not free to be true and authentic because we are constantly under threat. When we are unable to be who we are, our access to our god given limitless resourcefulness and creativity becomes limited, so does our growth, so does our contribution to the rest of the world.  When there is no freedom there is only fear and all our words and actions are laced with it.

To be free is to know who you are, what your gifts are, what your purpose is, and how you could be a better version of yourself for yourself and others. I fight for my freedom every single day and make sacrifices to protect it every single day. I never take it for granted. There are still chains that are more difficult to unlock than others but I know I will eventually get rid of all of them. And I make it my mission to show other women and men how it is done.

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Posted by thesoulsurgeon

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