Feeling the perfectly temperatured breeze on my skin last week during my morning walk, I felt so incredibly FREE!
From the time I decided that my liberty would be the topic of this week’s post, I’ve been struggling with the words to aptly convey to you that moment and its continuation into now. But the words escape me. I want to share it with you fully because I want you to feel it too, or at least taste a bit of it or catch a glimpse. But the words escape me.
In one of my Kabbalah books I find that words don’t exist for these kinds of experiences because the encounters didn’t happen there [in words]. I suppose it’s like one of those humorous anecdotes that don’t translate well to others. To appreciate it fully, you had to be there.
For this story, though, I’m not willing to settle for “you had to be there.” Not that you can join me in revisiting that exact moment, but I do so long for others to be free. From what? From whatever keeps you bound, you know – fear, desire to please everyone, lack, disease, insecurities, settling for less, unhappiness – all of that.
When I picture freedom, I see one of the early scenes of Their Eyes Were Watching God, starring Halle Berry. In this scene (within the first minute or so of the clip below), Ms. Berry’s character, Janie, takes off running barefoot under the sun in a flowing white dress and jumps in the lake, fully clothed. We can just feel the refreshment that the water’s coolness and the splash bring to Janie.
Prior to this scene we learn that she is awakening to her sexuality. She’s always been one to notice the exquisite details of
nature, like the bee feeding on the nectar from a flower’s center. Now she notices the exquisite details on the rippling muscles of a young neighbor, Johnny Taylor, as he makes his way past her home to catch some fish.
Her grandmother, Nanny, observes them kissing and wears Janie out for letting him feel all over her. Obviously Nanny is reacting to more than the budding attraction she witnesses. Nevertheless, she gives to Janie all of the burdens borne by generations of women before Janie, including the obligation to marry a “good” man who is old enough to be Janie’s grandfather. Nanny doesn’t see the bee on the flower petal and she blinds her granddaughter to it as well – for a time.
“Nanny took the horizon and pinched it into a little bit of a thang.” ~Janie, Their Eyes Were Watching God
I fully understand that when these similar kinds of life-altering occurrences happen in our own lives, for the most part, our foremothers are acting out of love. They are doing the best they know how. Yet, for every Nanny there is a Janie. So I cannot help but wonder what makes a Nanny accept being the “mule of the world” for her lifetime and what makes a Janie not? And so when I complain that my mother-ancestors could have advanced our rights as women faster and sooner, that leaves me refusing their answer of, “We didn’t have a choice.”
There is always a choice.
My heightened sense of freedom is truly a gift, a blessing. But it is also a result of years of intentional work and hard choices. I suppose, then, my wish for others is not just for freedom, but the courage, perseverance, and strength to do the work, make and stick to the hard choices. Yeah, I’ve cried and lamented and seriously considered regressing to try to alleviate some of the temporary discomfort and pain. Somehow, though, there is something inside of me that fundamentally will not settle for that, no matter how difficult the progress is. I’ve never settled for less as far back as I can remember. And I don’t think I’m any more special than anyone else in our world.
“Candi! Candi! Whatcha doin’?”
“I’m feelin’ free. . . . I’m feelin’ G~d.”
I hope you’ll join me . . . 😉
(c) 2012 candi dugas, llc
Their Eyes Were Watching God – (c) 2005 Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Inc. and Touchstone Television.
All rights reserved.