Thursday, March 2, 2006

Rice and beans

Freedom means having choices. You cannot be free if you cannot choose. This does mean that our freedom is fundamentally limited. Often people say "you don't choose your family". That is true. And as young men often wail at their mothers, you don't choose to be born.

I am compelled to be here. I could choose to leave. Would that free me? It's curious. I don't ever have suicidal thoughts but I do not know how to escape that conclusion.

Why does it matter to be free? Isn't happiness better? I suppose it would be but I don't feel happy when I feel compelled. There is some part of me that runs amuck, yelling "bring it on", asking what the world has for me to rebel against. The strange thing is, I am more restricted, my choices more limited, by that than by anything else.

I don't have an answer to that because I cannot subdue that part of me.

I hate that I feel limited by others. I am not saying that I resent the restrictions on my freedom brought by having a wife and kids. Of course, like anyone I have moments when I think, if I didn't... but I don't curse my choices. However, it is hard sometimes to accept that others want to restrict you because they cannot see what you see, and you cannot help them see it. I am ever frustrated by that. I get to that point at which reason has broken down and I have nowhere left to go. Sometimes being free requires being freed.

***

Did I really choose to sit in a darkened room, correcting someone who thinks "the appliance group had enhanced its critical mass" means something in English? I suppose I must have done. I suppose it's worth trying to figure out how it happened because that should inform my future choices but the problem is, I've lost the ability even to see myself as someone who makes choices. I have become almost entirely passive. I have a burst of enthusiasm, a bit of belief that I can make a change, and then it's crushed.

Naturally, nothing crushes it. The crushing happens entirely internally. I become convinced that I am compelled. Sometimes, what I want is only going to be possible if I walk a long road. If I can ignore that and start walking, I'm okay. But when I get a glimpse of the mountain, I feel immensely saddened. I feel it shouldn't happen to me.

Most of the time, I don't take myself seriously enough to feel sorry for myself. But when I catch sight of the small boy whose future I have mangled, I do. I feel sorry for him because he is still living in here, still hoping.

***


I know. It is all wrong. I know it. I spend too much time thinking about the choices I don't have and not enough on those I do. I am hurting myself with it and those around me. I know. I know it but what can I do about it? No one will let you just stop and say, this is what I'm going to be about.

I am not feeling articulate. I want someone else to be articulate for me. I want to say simple things and not be misunderstood. I could promise to live on rice and beans if I could eat it in any place I chose.

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