It's Thursday so that means its time for the link for you all to post your posts around the topic of "What Freedom Means To Me"- and remember that when you go off and pimp those posts at Twitter, Facebook, Britmums, Mumsnet and anywhere else you can think of, make sure you let the masses know the posts are for Oxfam's #GetTogether.
Without further waffling, here's my own post based on the title.
Freedom. Its a great word isn't it?
I thought the prompt title was a great one, as it could mean different things to different people. I hadn't thought what I would write myself, which long term readers will no doubt be unsurprised about. I'm not one of those people who pre-writes or painstakingly plans posts or topics (maybe that's where I've been going wrong?).
I had to wait until I was walking home from school on Wednesday morning, head plugged in to the deafening music on my phone, to really establish what freedom does mean to me, to my life.
Freedom in my life meant that I went to school, I learnt to read and write and to have social skills. It meant that I was never segregated, I was allowed to be a free spirit and to develop my own sense of who I was. There wasn't anyone there who could force me into being a certain way or believing a certain thing. They could voice opinions on what was best, but ultimately I could act on these opinions or disregard them (for better or worse), it was me who made the call.
I was able to make mistakes, and learn from them. I'm still doing that to this day and guess I always will. But no one has ever been able to physically cause me pain or suffering for taking a path they didn't like. When my parent's didn't like my boyfriends, (nope, not one of them, including Elder), they could tell me, but they couldn't lock me away or send me across country to relatives, or worse still, the kinds of things that happen to girls in some cultures who disobey their families and suffer the consequences.
I have the freedom to say, marriage doesn't mean everything to me, I can have my children, and I can live with Elder and no one can pass judgement that we aren't married and have no intention of doing so.
Freedom means that, when I was in an abusive relationship in my late teens (before Elder), no one made me stay. I had to work out for myself that it was wrong, and I walked away. No one said "You must stay with this man, I have decided he is who you are spending your life with".
Freedom means that I can wear high heels, short skirts, red lipstick and not brush my hair. I can read books. I can pick up a pen or a keyboard and I can write. I can read Vogue. I can dance. I can listen to rubbish pop music (however much Elder moans). No one is there to make me cover up, to say what I will or wont wear, how I will have my hair, and what materials are off limits to me.
I can get a job, there are no restrictions- I am my only restriction. A man does not have the right to earn more than me, to have a job while I am sidelined. The glass ceiling has been smashed and girls can be executives, engineers and train drivers if they wish. No one is able to say "no you're female". We live with equality. That equality leads to freedom.
I can walk to my kitchen, run a tap and have a glass of crystal clear water, knowing it is clean. I don't have to walk miles to a water hole that is infested with disease. The freedom to know we are blessed, with safety and health care, and when Littlest is ill, there are people a phone call away to make him better again. I have food in my cupboards, and can see my children grow into healthy adults. Freedom is knowing that my children will become adults and I will never have to let them go hungry, watch them suffer, have them ask me why they have so little. Its unbearable knowing that some Mothers face that reality every day, and there is next to nothing they can do. We have the freedom to do something about it, to help, however small that help is.
I have the freedom to cast my vote, to raise my voice and disagree with those in power. When I voiced a negative opinion on the Government, no one came to my door and no one had me thrown in jail with no trial. I have the freedom to stand up for what I believe in without fear of reprisals.
I have freedom. I can chose, I can laugh, run, smile.
I can be.
Freedom is everything.
Let's help to make freedom available to everyone.
Pop your links below and I look forward to reading and seeing how you've interpreted the title! And a massive THANK YOU! for joining in (remember, tomorrow, Nickie will be hosting the Friday Twiz at Twitter with the theme "Women Rock". Yes, I came up with the questions. I had the freedom to make them hard!)
Also, an extra Thanks to Oxfam for letting me loose with their Get Together (and cheating slightly in a geeky way by not being directly socialable!), to Mumsnet for picking me to attend the original event which made me go out and organise all this, to Nickie for propping me up and convincing me that people would take part, to Susanna for promoting it at Britmums, and to Love All Blogs, for also mentioning it for me. Cheers guys x