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Freedom - it’s all about context

“Freedom!” What does that even mean? What does it mean to be really free? I’ve been pondering this for a while. I just finished re-reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. In a totalitarian society like The Republic of Gilead, Freedom takes on an almost tangible urgency. When your speech, dress, sex - your being is under control, to be free means something completely different to say in our supposedly democratic society. Thoughts about Gilead mix with my thoughts about George Michael’s film Freedom. “Freedom!” What does that even mean? What does it mean to be really free? I’ve been pondering this for a while. I just finished re-reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. In a totalitarian society like The Republic of Gilead, Freedom takes on an almost tangible urgency. When your speech, dress, sex - your being is under control, to be free means something completely different to say in our supposedly democratic society. Thoughts about Gilead mix with my thoughts about George Michael’s film Freedom.
In Freedom, being free for George Michael meant space to be himself and not a commodity. He didn’t want to be at the end of the day of someone else’s string. He wanted to be loved, he wanted space to create the sort of music he wanted. He didn’t want to be peddled about on talk show after talk show. This in itself was quite brave.
For me though, Freedom is a messy concept because I haven’t (& I don’t think I ever will) pin down exactly what that means for me. Whilst I’m lucky to have rights and I do exercise them, sometimes , I lose faith in them: because I get frustrated like I’m sure many of us do about the 1% and the state our world is in. I don’t think I can feel free if my brothers & sisters are still bound. Whether physically (politically - as in the case of Nazanin) or by poverty, social injustice.
Going deeper, I think the last few years have been rough on me as I fought to get the space I needed to be who I really am. To stay mentally well, I took my family to live on our beloved island. The fall out from that was catastrophic. I spent the next year, slowly rebuilding . I can just about see above the parapet now 2 years on.
I have learnt a lot about myself which I think is common for many who go through tough times. As time goes on, I’ll share a bit more about that with you all. For now though, I leave you with this - “The secret to happiness is freedom... And the secret to freedom is courage.” — Thucydides.

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