For Girls in a Relationship

Freedom vs. Prison

April 9, 2013. Nate just left for Texas for 2 1/2 weeks to build his mom a house. I’ve been dreading this moment for a couple of weeks now. I didn’t think I changed much after we got married in 2010, but these Nate withdrawals are proving me wrong. Up until now we’ve only been apart for one night.

At first I got to thinking of all the perks. I won’t have to wake up at 3:30 every morning, making coffee and lunch for Nate. I can sleep in every day. I don’t have to go to bed around 7:30 every night. I can eat as much garlic as I want! I can eat all the Asian food my heart desires, no need to compromise about any food choices or movie choices. I can hang out with my girlfriends and have a girl’s night in.

It’s just all me, whatever I want. And doesn’t that sound like freedom? No one to be responsible to but myself?

I think the irony of it all is that I would give up all this so called “freedom” to have Nate come home to me every night, lay by my side when I go to bed, and just know he’s there, even in the background, watching Pawn Stars while I make dinner. Truth be told, I enjoy spoiling this man. I enjoy the responsibilities I’ve willingly taken on as a wife.

I think freedom is overrated, or at least misunderstood when it’s in the context of freedom from responsibilities, freedom from duties, freedom to be your own person with no one else to be accountable too.

I think we actually sometimes get the two backwards, freedom and prison. Sometimes, what you think is freedom, is actually a lonely prison. And sometimes, what you think would feel like prison, is actually where you get more freedom.

Does that make sense?

I think of Denzel Washington in Flight, how as a man throwing away responsibility and giving into the false pretense of freedom- he believed that his freedom was having no one ever stop him from drinking. Doing whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted. But in reality, no responsibility, no one to keep him accountable, no one to tell him not to drink, this was actually not freedom, it was his prison, and it was his prison mostly because it isolated him.

In the last part of the movie, after he had been stripped of his pilot license and his alcohol, the TWO things he always thought were most important to him, he actually admits:

“This is going to sound really stupid from a man who’s locked up in prison, but for the first time, I’m free.”

All I’m asking in this article is for us to question what we believe is freedom.

My wise older brother Dee once told me, “Men are like trucks. They drive better with a heavier load.” Or something like that. Anyway, I think it applies to men and women. People. Adults. I think we have this innate need to be needed, not just to be loved by someone, but to be able to display love as well.

And part of this needing to be needed shows up in the form of people, people we are responsible for, people we take care of, duties that pile up on our plates because of the people we love who love us back.

So responsibilities, duties, people who depend on us, people who keep us accountable, these are all keys to our freedom, our real freedom. Sometimes we may think people hinder us from our freedom, but the opposite is true. We need each other, ya know?

And I think of the most famous man who had this whole “freedom” business all wrong. Desperado.

“Freedom? Ohhh freedom. Well that’s just some people talking. Your prison is walking through this world all alone… You better let somebody love you…before it’s too late.”

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I love thinking about the intricacies of dating, love and life. I share my tiny lessons in the hope that it helps you as you navigate the dating world.

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  1. Anonymous

    There is so nice videos! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Scratch

    This is so true. What’s life without people? I enjoy my free space, but the people I love are the same way. If you truly love a wonderful person – everyone wants to be in that situation I think. Yes, it sets you free – to be happy. Without it you’re less free because you have fewer options – you don’t feel motivated, and life can feel like a cruel waste of time.

    • MidoriLei


      Thanks for sharing. It does help to feel more “free” in relationships when both parties have other hobbies apart from each other– that’s what I gather is the “free space” you mentioned? I know that freedom has to do with people otherwise solitary confinement wouldn’t be form of torture, right?

  3. Scratch

    Midori, what I mean is, it’s possible to compare being in a loving relationship to a kind of prison – even if we are still given all the freedom in the world. We choose to make ourselves that person’s servant and protector.

  4. Scratch

    Also, happiness itself is a form of freedom, since it is such a motivator.

  5. MidoriLei

    Thanks Scratch. Makes sense.

  6. Scratch

    I don’t believe that love is a form of possession – and all the better for that. After all, is not every love unique?

  7. Scratch

    Having said that – possibly tmi – there’s only one One and Only.

  8. Scratch

    I’m currently being plagued by an abusive, controlling stalker of a neighbour’s boyfriend who’s having a nervous breakdown on me as I’m the image of the good father he never had.

    This would perhaps seem to be a bad thing, and it is difficult, but also a giant opportunity for an education and character building etc. and a way to work through the issues in myself which provoked the situation.

    Anyway. I’m restricted. He does everything he can to lock me down and suck the life out of me, although this doesn’t work very well. I’m finding that this restriction is in some ways good for me. It’s a form of discipline, perhaps, and discipline and [self-]control can lead to strength and effectiveness, because all our forces are marshalled consciously and deliberately, instead of being undefined and all over the place.

  9. Scratch

    It’s good being forced to slow down, too, as this gives me a chance to think and reflect, watch movies and interesting TV, and generally do other things than rushing around trying to fit everything in.

    I think that nobody benefits from being completely “untrained” or undisciplined.

  10. Scratch

    If we have fewer choices, it’s easier to know what to do.

  11. Scratch

    I’ve been mistaken. There’s one person who gets 100% of my romantic attention and energy, and there’s none left over for anyone else. If there was any left over, she’d get that as well.

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