"Better to starve free than be a fat slave." - Aesop
I was that fat slave, truly and really not only getting larger by the day but also more and more enslaved by the day. That was in my old life with my abusive ex (and his family), before that my body image was constantly assaulted by family who expected big boned girls to be petite, that being strong made you look unfeminine and that you really should be able to wear someone else's clothes because they want you to.
Even if I could I wouldn't show you what I looked like then, in my slave days, because those images although burned in my mind have also been physically burned to cleanse my spirit. I got rid of the reminders of my slavery. My psychic chains were dropped overboard when I made my escape.
Today, I would rather be alone and free than to be fat and enslaved by anyone or anything. That is not universally understood or even accepted. Some people will always think that the right thing to do is what the majority or those in 'control' wish for you to do. It is not. Not for me. Not for you. Not for our children, our friends or our family.
Slavery of the mind, body, spirit or emotions is wrong even if you are a well fed slave. A slave is still owned, a slave is still put in chains, a slave is still someone's property and is theirs until they say differently.
Freedom can be lonely but it is sweet - to paraphrase some of my favorite lines from my freedom singer Melissa Etheridge. She and I spent, and still spend, many hours together - her singing and me listening. Listening with free ears, not sneaking a song here or there like a slave. To afraid to speak up, too scared and scarred to make noise or waves. I didn't sell my soul for freedom, although it felt like it sometimes. That was until I realized that it wasn't my soul that I sold but my chains, my slavery, so intertwined with who I wasn't felt like my soul because I lost so much of who I was...I had to lose it all to get it back again.
For the first time in my life I was able to, last night, be truly and honestly fully facing my feelings about family, relationships and the past. I was, for the first time, safe in my freedom enough to reject their slavery, their control and understand it for what it was. A trap. A lie. An easy way into losing yourself. A way to relinquish who you are for what they want.
Ever notice that? That the WHO is lost when we become slaves because we are no longer a WHO but a WHAT. I am free, who I am is free. I was enslaved, what happened was slavery, I was a person enslaved. Slaves are not people, they are objects and property.
We are not objects, we are not property, we are persons, we are alive and we deserve our freedom, even if it costs us some of the false security of slavery, some of the poisoned meals, the fabric covered chains and sweetly scented threats.
When I started healing, really healing, and getting strong I started to see things differently. There are some things I won't tolerate, some things I cannot abide by and some things I will quietly or loudly fight against.
I still sing to Melissa, I still have to stop myself from thinking like a slave in some situations and I have to remember always, especially in mid-July, that my own independence day was the sweetest, hardest, bitterest and most incredible thing I had done and that that path I started down has been hard, loving, wonderful, savage and led to so many wonderful blessings...it's a long road but worth it to walk it in freedom.
This town thinks I'm crazy...They just think I'm strange
Sometimes they want to own me...Sometimes they wish I'd change
But I can feel the thunder underneath my feet
I sold my soul for freedom...It's lonely but it's sweet
Melissa Etheridge, Talking To My Angel
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Chicks with Scars
Chicks with Scars