What then is Freedom? The power to live as one wishes. Marcus Tullius Cicero
We're all products of messages we hear growing up. "Do this...Don't do that"...etc. Those messages influence who we think we are and the way we live our lives. But some people break loose and answer the call they hear deep within...the call to be who they are and choose how they will live. Which one are you? How free are you to make your own choices and follow your own way? A few years ago, I wrote a very short whimsical story about a young woman wrestling with her messages and making a decision about her future. I hope you enjoy this story. It could be you.
I slushed through soapy puddles across the kitchen floor, doubled up my fists, and kicked the empty mop bucket as far as my bare foot could sling it. I heard my mother's voice from my teenage years. "You should be more careful. Spring cleaning doesn't need to be a chore." My mother's voice was grounded in my head--from all my ages. Sometimes I wondered if I even had one of my own. Her voice echoed from the past with phrases like, "Nice girls sit with their legs together," "Take a quick shower, so you don't waste water," and "Too much sugar isn't good for you." I remember how she hovered over me at mealtime to make sure I cleaned my plate. I still feel guilty when I turn away from brussels sprouts.
Yes, my mother taught me some valuable lessons and gave me some good advice, but wouldn't you think I could do something now without cringing to chatter from an old phonograph wound too tight? Where was my own self in my life? I'd wanted spring-cleaning to be painless, but I always wrestled with my inner drill sergeant spounting orders.
I knelt down and sopped up water with the big towel I usually took to the beach where I heard my mother tell me not to go out too far in the ocean. "Even good swimmers drown, you know." Calm down, I told myself. Keep it simple. I knelt down and squeezed the last bit of water into the pail, threw the towel across the room and sat back on the tile floor. It's time for a break.
I wiggled my body into a comfortable position in the recliner chair on the patio. The morning air smelled clean and fresh. A big gulp of iced tea cooled my throat, and I grinned like a defiant child escaping out the back door when it's time to help with the supper dishes. Escape sounded good. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and coaxed my mind to quiet. There's power in quiet. There must be ways to stifle old messages, free to express my own voice and reflect my own personal style.
I turned off the alert button in my head and allowed new plans to flood my mind. First I'd go to the beach, feel the cool breeze between my bare legs, and swim far out into the ocean, looking back at the shore from very deep water. I'd run along the beach as fast as the wind would carry me and feel the warm sand ooze between my toes. Then I'd come home, take a shower and bask under the welcome spray for as long as I wanted. And that strawberry cheesecake that's been in the freezer too long. It's time to smack with each bite.
My grin widened to a full smile, and I felt a strange sense of power begin to stir, a feeling I'd only glimpsed in the past. A sense of resolve gnawed in my head. I'd get back to spring-cleaning, I mused, but wait 'till I'd done some inside cleaning and practiced being a new me. I could hear my mother saying, "Everything begins with a first step." That one I'd choose to keep.
I wish you successful intention, follow through, and freedom.