There are times when I actually feel bound by my past or by preconceptions (or what I perceive to be other people's preconceptions about me, even if they happen to be total strangers), times when I don't think that I dare show myself to the world. I am not as inhibited as I used to be, that is true, but there are still moments when I am. And I can even feel it.
And who is it that I show when I supposedly show myself to the world? If I am free with my actions and reactions and my responses, not afraid to speak up nor speak out, is that who I really am?
Sometimes I judge myself. Sometimes I am so aware of a certain response or a reaction, that I ask myself if that was necessary. And I wonder if that response or reaction happened because I was being uninhibited or because that was how I wanted to be seen.
I ask too many questions. Still.
They say that the truth will set you free. But if it is my truth and no one else's, am I being selfish for wanting that truth to be revealed? And will it truly set me free?
Growing older and having more of life's experiences behind you does give one a certain freedom to be bolder and more daring. For as one grows older, one realises ever more that life is short and there are times when one just has to call a spade a spade and have it over and done with instead of beating around the bush.
It doesn't happen very often, though, but at least it happens. And being willing to speak out doesn't mean that one forgets to be kind or considerate. It can be a delicate balancing act and I don't always succeed.
Now that I'm older and think that I have opened up a little bit more, even in brand new situations, I find myself wishing that I were not so inhibited. I remember walking with my younger brother, on the way to a lunch appointment, and he told me to walk tall with shoulders back instead of hunching my shoulders forward. I tried to do as he suggested but it was not a habit so seemed a bit of an effort at first. But it did feel better and I'm sure it looked better as well. It was all about good posture. And for me, there was more to it than that.
Maybe there will come a day when I can shed all of my inhibitions. I honestly don't think so but it's something I can, at least, work towards. It is freeing to be uninhibited. It is allowing myself to be who I am, who I have become over the years, while at the same time not suspecting nor imagining that there is a micro camera following me around, watching my every move. It is within the four walls of my home that I can always be who I am. But I want more than that.
There was one winter when the snow fell especially hard - a mild blizzard, perhaps - and I very much wanted to be outside - walking, running, playing with my dogs, whatever - and experience the falling snow. I enjoyed myself for a while under the ominous, grey sky as the snowflakes danced about in the wind. Apart from the windy conditions and heavy snowfall, it was otherwise very safe and I was actually having fun. And I even laughed out loud. Then it occurred to me that maybe my neighbours, in the lot next door, would be able to hear me. There I was, a grown woman, with no children of her own, playing outside in the snow with her two animals. Was I exhibiting child-like behaviour? And so what if I was? Having even one child with me would have been wonderful. But I didn't. I was having fun on my own and with my animal friends. And even though the neighbours couldn't see me, the realisation that they might be able to hear me was enough and I went inside the house.
I felt inhibited. It would have been lovely to have been totally uninhibited, to walk and run in the snow outside, having one-way conversations and playing catch with my dogs, and laughing as loud as I wanted to precisely because I was having so much fun.
I still have that picture in my head: Laughing outdoors under the falling snow.
It is wonderful, isn't it, to be free.