When you dream of freedom, what do you long for?

IMG_5036Since early childhood, I had a dream to be free.

As a child freedom looked like an opportunity to be me. To say what I wanted in the moment, to dress as I desired, to do what I wanted when I wanted, to eat without asking for permission and getting frowned upon for having second helping. Freedom meant walking out of the house without being chaperoned and going for a walk on my own. Freedom was having friends and not worrying that I may be banned from interacting with them because they said or did something grandma disapproved of. Freedom meant to have male friends and not avoid eye contact with any boys of my age. Freedom meant to grow into someone who could have dreams and aspirations. Already then I was brainwashed that my purpose in life was to marry and bear children. Yet I sensed there was more to life and I wanted to find out what.

Although the longing for freedom was visceral, I struggled with long unstructured days during school holidays. With no playmates and no adults interested in connecting, I made up my own games and read books. I craved for some stimulation. Boredom choked and frightened me. Filling my time with anything felt better than feeling empty.

I was 16 when Azerbaijan declared independence from the USSR. Although people cheered and many felt excited about this newly-acquired freedom, I wasn’t sure how to react. I didn’t feel free inside. I had no idea what feeling free entailed. Sure enough, the government paid lip-service to being independent, and most of the structures remained the same. They just dropped the word ‘soviet’.

It’s a difficult legacy to erase.

Even after living in England for 10 years, I’m still learning what feeling free means…

When I dream of freedom, I long to feel free inside.

15 thoughts on “When you dream of freedom, what do you long for?

  1. That conditioning is so hard to untie Gulara. May the day come when we are free of it all, free of fear, and may love and true freedom to be who we truly are and meant to be happy not a day too soon. Thank you for this thought provoking post.

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  2. This post is very poignant Gulara. Technically, I have always lived in a free land, but like you I grew up in a very strict environment. Freedom came for me when my parents died, but I was nearly 60 then. I truly hope that you will embrace your freedom and release the strictures of your mind as otherwise it maybe too late to do what you love. I SO wish I had done things differently, but now I feel it is too late. Allow yourself to acknowledge that the past no longer impacts you. Give yourself permission to be free and accept that you are free and can do as you wish!!!!

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    • Thank you, Gwynn, this post is my attempt to embrace freedom, to make unconscious conscious, to long for freedom aloud. And it’s also a muscle that needs a regular exercise. I want to say its never late to be free, but first I need to change my own mind. Literally. Many blessings.

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      • I SO can relate to needing to change my own mind about being free. The strictures we were raised with are hard to escape, at least for me. I am changing and growing, but there is so much more I feel I should do, but it is hard to find the energy now. You are doing well! I congratulate you! Glory in and dance in your freedom as you will experience so much happiness and joy.

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  3. I think you have got it there in your last statement Gulara. Freedom is how we view it. It resides within, or not. Sadly for many people, especially women worldwide it is difficult for them to feel the freedom when their situations are so oppressive.

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  4. This is such a thought provoking post. So many people live with and are accustomed to freedom and, as a result, don’t know what it’s like or are incapable of comprehending what it is like for people who live without freedoms. However, you have given us insight into that lifestyle. Thank you for sharing that. I pray for those who continue to live without freedom, especially as I take mine for granted. Freedom is a right. Everyone should have it.

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  5. Gulara, this is again a great post! I send Melanie your way after I read her post on freedom.
    I might do a “response” post to yours on Monday, just maybe. Tomorrow I am doing my first feminist post ever… After all it is important to write about the things that are deep in our minds.

    Liked by 1 person

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