Sunday, April 27, 2014

Claiming Ownership of that Freed Self

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” -Toni Morrison
I am working so hard to claim ownership of my freed self in so many areas of my life. I still don't feel completely free, but last week I took one step I really needed to take.
Image borrowed from Wikimedia Commons
One of my biggest pet peeves are unsolicited visits. I do not like to be caught off guard. I do not subscribe to the belief that your house should always be clean and ready for any spontaneous visitor. I think that belief is rude, antiquated and it enslaves us to live our lives for other people. Something I am working very hard on not doing any more.
I've been receiving periodic visits, phone messages and sometimes text messages from a certain group of people, but last week they went overboard.
The kids were at their dad's and I was struggling with getting sick so I was sleeping in. Suddenly I was startled awake by some loud knocking on my wall. It literally scared me awake and in turn made me angry. The person who had knocked on my wall left me a note slipped in my back door so I knew exactly who it was. It wasn't one of the usual visitors. I don't think one of them would have over-stepped my boundaries in this way.
It's one thing for someone to knock on my door like a normal person, but for someone to walk into my back yard and knock on my bedroom wall was way more intrusive than I could take. I felt like I had to take drastic measures and most importantly, I had to put my foot down and let them know how I felt.
I sent a text asking one of the representatives of this group to please ask everyone to please refrain from visiting me without an invitation. Just a nice, short note to make my point. She didn't reply to acknowledge that she had received my message but I really hope she did. I didn't call because I didn't want for her to try to engage me in any conversation and that would have definitely led to more drama.
Up to this point I was like Billy Crystal's character Harry in "When Harry Met Sally." I was being NICE! I wasn't being rude and I was trying to avoid any drama. This group means well. They want to know that I'm doing okay and the genuinely believe that they need to "save me." The thing is, I have learned in these two years away from them that I don't want that. I want to be free of their visits and their concern.
Sending that text message told them that and however small it may seem, it was huge. It was setting my foot down and telling them, "Please don't visit me any more. Please don't knock on my door."
The same day that this all happened I was listening to The Moth radio hour on NPR and I heard a piece by Jen Lee, "a publisher, producer and a performer in New York City's storytelling scene." She spoke about her experience going home to visit her religious family and her daughter's experience with Sunday School. You have to listen to this piece to truly appreciate the story, but I could completely relate to it and it was funny that it was playing on this particular day.
I knew what she meant when she said that her daughter had felt singled out by the kids because she didn't go to church back home. And I could understand the struggle that Jen Lee was referring to when she said that when she was comforting and reassuring her daughter, she was also comforting her child self. I could relate because it's also part of the reason why I am still being vague while I write this and I question myself as to why I can't be completely open.
I'm still working on freeing myself and claiming ownership of that freed self. I realize I have a long way to go, but I'm trying.

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