by Diane Buccheri

I have screams in my ear, echoes banging through my consciousness. “What are you doing?” ask those outside voices. I’m skipping along. I’m letting the sun shine on my hair, letting the breeze blow through it. I’m singing and dancing along the beach with the sparkling waves. I’m thinking and feeling and writing about things, allowing my spirit to live and breathe. I’m letting life be happy and can easily pass some of that onto those who touch my life.

Living Free
I’m not being stifled in an enclosed office doing what I’m told to do and letting my creative intelligence die a natural death. I’m not letting the essence of me suffocate unnecessarily. I am pursuing the type of life’s activities that suit me personally.

I’m living. Living free and asking nothing of anyone. I’m taking care of myself and offer love and caring to others. I’m not taking from them. Not leaning on them. Why, then, do they demand from me that which does not suit me? Why do they demand I fulfill their dreams? Could they not fulfill their own dreams so I must do it for them? Do they care so much about me that they fear for me and my ways? Do they worry about me skipping along freely with nothing material to hold onto?

I’m just fine. Are they? Why do they want me to bend to their ways? Why need I break myself in half to make them feel better? As the Beatles sang, “Let it be, let it be, let it be . . .” and something about “words of wisdom.”

Alternative Lifestyle
What I’m talking about is an “alternative” lifestyle. Some hurrah it wholeheartedly. Some live it loudly and some live it quietly. Some fiercely do not understand, nor respect it, and they fear it. Some highly disapprove of it. And some make uneducated assumptions.

Who are “they” and who are “some?”

I’ve always been an alternative though I fit the mold exactly when I need to and come out smiling after doing such a good job of convincing everyone how normal I am and how I can make them approve of me and admire me.

But when those conservatives are not looking, I’m ME!! Running free! Laughing, giggling, enjoying the world.

A Have-not?
Oh – but I’ll never have anything. Never have a home. Benefits. A regular job. Stability. What if I ever have a serious health problem? Am I waiting for someone to hand me things? No! It takes a while to make dreams come true, don’t they know that? Don’t know why they feel so free to try to hand me their two cents – I won’t accept.

I’ve had regular jobs. I felt that I was being put away in a dark box. That was in my very early twenties and thought if that’s what it took to grow up I would rather be Peter Pan.

I’ve also never again had a regular job. Although right now I have a regular job waiting for me in New York City (anyone impressed?). Calling my name, in fact. I would make less money than I do now and I would be a lot less healthy and a lot less free. I would be stressed and unfulfilled . My unhappiness would grow like a cancer and spread to those around me . . .

Need to Be Free
Do you understand the need for freedom? The need to be your own boss? The need to make your own decisions? The need to stand on your own two feet with the blue sky overhead and breathe fresh air? Smell the roses . . . I do not need to have a job with “status” so I can tell people about it.

I remember, people need company, more people on the same path, to make them feel right about what they are doing. They fear taking a side path, one not commonly explored.

Upon graduating from high school, twin friends of mine who were high scholastic and athletic achievers, the class president, etc., said they were going into the military so that they wouldn’t have to think for themselves. It would be easy, they would do what they were told to do. At the time, that idea was so utterly foreign to me I had absolutely no response.

Stopping to Smell the Roses
There are plenty of people who know exactly what I am talking about and are actually standing somewhere else on this earth breathing the fresh air, smelling the roses. They too are using their brains independently and taking their own winding path through life. Maybe they have their own house. Maybe they have a spouse with a regular job. Maybe they don’t.

But they would smile and nod their heads “yes” to me and they would have their own glow of satisfaction surrounding them, protecting them quietly from the outside world of mass society.

Freedom? Or Not . . .?
Now, not to give you the wrong impression. Personally, I work VERY hard. I have several contracted work situations and they are not all in the Land of the Ethereal. Some I grit my teeth and do with a forced smile. Some give me headaches or split the skin on my hands and feet. Some make me disgusted with people. While some cause me to celebrate thoughts, interactions with people I know and people I will know fleetingly but who left their mark upon me, and all of whom I hope I leave good thoughts and feelings with. Some of the work is brainless and some is highly intellectually stimulating.

There are many of those, both strangers and long time acquaintances, even friends and relatives, who congratulate me on my work and with my efforts and courage with not taking a regular straight path.

And there are comrades who work with me or whose alternative paths cross mine who are glad for the company in the alternative lifestyle and the mutual acknowledgment of understanding. Ironically, one of those “comrades,” who is a cynic, said “You won’t be free until you are dead.” Well . . . !

That’s true. There is no freedom. As a child, I used to shout that I needed to be “free!” My mother quietly replied, “No one is free.” Okay, then. I agree. There is no absolute freedom. Even when you are dead.

But there are degrees of being free. Some people need the security of being tied to things – jobs, homes, other people. They are afraid of having nothing. My highest needs are not for buy-able things but for nonmaterial ones.

One friend asked me how do I sleep at night, having nothing absolutely secure in life? Better than if I were tied to the wrong things for me but right for the general public. Too many people have lived lives they did not choose and died never having done what they wanted to. Maybe they did not have the opportunity in life. For that, I am sorry. If you have an opportunity – take it! No need to stick to the grind unnecessarily. I’m not saying be selfish and hurt or lean on those close to you but if you are truly happy, those close to you should be, too (right?).

Well, just wondering if you ever feel the need to skip along the beach with the seagulls careening overhead, the breeze light on your face, and the sun warming you with its glow.

Mandela once said, “The masses stoop to the lowness of the dark because they fear the light.”

I’m walking in the light.

What are you doing with your life?