Freedom

I learned a new word today – eleutheromania.

eleutheromania

This word, or rather, this condition, is characterized by the insatiable need to travel, and a general craving for freedom.  Now, for me, discovering this word was something akin to finally learning the name to that song that’s been stuck in your head for the last week.

See, I’ve been experiencing eleutheromania for the last year or so, and let me tell you – it is an… interesting issue.

This blog started out as a way for Tashara and I to share with the world our experiences and observances as we muddle through our respective quarter-life crises.  And I’ve spent the last year desperately trying to get my life together.  I’ve worked for three different companies in the last year, I’ve transitioned through two Master’s programs, and moved twice, all in an effort to find myself.  About three months ago, something happened to me that’s never happened before:  I got fired from my job.  It wasn’t an exciting event – there were no explosions or conflict –it was simply a “we need to make room in the budget and your position is optional” kind of thing.  And yet, it was catastrophic to me.  I’d been barely hanging onto my sanity as I struggled to pay my bills and navigate through this thing called life and that particular setback was crushing.   It was paralyzing.  I had no idea what to do, where to go, how to even begin to put things back in order.

So, I just kept moving.

About two months ago, I sold half of everything I owned and packed the rest in a UHaul and moved across the country to Ohio – leaving everything I’ve ever known behind.  I left my house and my home and my safety blanket and I was scared to death about what was coming.  I had no idea what life looked like, how I was going to make it work.  I had no plan… nothing.

Then, one night, laying in a borrowed bed in a little room, I realized something.

For the first time in months- I could breathe again.

For the first time in as long as I could remember, I had that elusive feeling of freedom – of not being tied to anyone or anything – of being able to forge my own path.

While I was going through my personal freedom revelation, though, there were bigger things going on around the nation, and around the world.

About two weeks after I left Alabama, Bob McCullough got on television and explained to the world why Darren Wilson would not be charged with the murder of Michael Brown.  In one overblown, self-righteous speech, Mr. McCullough lit fire to a movement which had been simmering below the surface for longer than I can remember.

Ferguson (literally) changed everything.

In the weeks since, the outpouring of activist support and solidarity has completely bowled me over, and the #blacklivesmatter movement is the civil rights demonstration of our generation. Even under criticism and duress from all of the “powers that be”, my fellow activists have neither bent nor broken.  Instead we have held strong in the face of adversity and continued to plow on toward our goal of freedom and equality.

For me, the exhilarating liberation I’ve felt in my own life has allowed me to seriously evaluate what I want out of life, and one of the things one the forefront of my mind (and my social media accounts) is being a meaningful part of this movement.

And as we enter into 2015, I’ve decided that my personal theme for the year is #cultivatelove  – in all aspects of my life, for myself and for everyone around me.  This includes showing love to and making room for love for my people, and my community.

Because the truth is, we aren’t free – we are far from it.

There is something seriously wrong with this country and the way that we as citizens are treated by our government, and by its agents.

And although I’m happy about the progress I see happening around me, I’m not fooled in the slightest.  There is still so much work to do and we have a really long road ahead of us.

But one thing I do have, for the first time in a long time, is hope.  And that is more powerful than any of the weapons the opposition can craft in their arsenal.

So this year, I’m still trying to #settheworldonfire… with love.  And I hope you’ll join me.  We can do this –together.

Love, peace, and power…

Kio

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