This is our truth, tell us yours
Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours.
A wise friend brought this beautiful C.S. Lewis quote to my attention some time ago. They were referring to BDSM, and that pride a Dominant has in seeing their sub blossom, in knowing when they are shared with others that the way they are is down to Him. It is a great feeling when you know that your actions not only bring you pleasure, but bring others pleasure, and they reflect on them with pride.
Of course Lewis was not writing for kinksters, and his insight is useful to more than those of us who like our sex with a side of whips and canes. All too often we mistake love for obsession, I have written of this before, and a part of this obsession is possessiveness. It goes further than possessiveness, love conflated with the objectification of another. I mean objectification in the true sense here, another person turned into an object that has no meaning, no life outside of the relationship with their other. In this mindset setting another free becomes impossible, for they are seen as unable to cope without the other, unable to stand alone.
Of course go too far down this road and you end up in emotionally abusive relationships, one person telling another what they should, do, feel, think, where they should go and what they should do there. Things do not have to reach that extreme though for one person to believe that another needs to remain with them to be happy, to resist that gifting, that freedom. It is an imbalance found in a whole host of relationships. As a child I had a friend who had been born with quite a severe heart defect, it had been repaired but understandably her parents were reluctant to let her engage in many of the activities we thought as of normal. I grew up in a very working class area, we spent the days on our bikes, exploring, playing houses in the ruined roman fort nearby. All but the last were not allowed for my friend. There is no dramatic ending for this story, she did not run away and join the circus, she simply missed out, and expressed to me in the privacy of my bedroom how much she hated missing out.
Her parents were unable to move past their view of her as that tiny baby fighting for her life, and see her as someone who needed to be free to be theirs. For a parent surely wants their child to be happy above all else? It is perhaps those people with disabilities who suffer from this attitude the most. Even complete strangers seem to think they have a right to stop them making mistakes, police their choices, exert control over them, in a way that never happens with able bodied people. Some bodies it seems are perceived to be owned publicly (pregnant people fall in this category too, as do sex workers and trans people) and society as a whole is unwilling to let go, to say I do not own you. Of course by doing so these groups are excluded from society, which is lesser for it. An inclusive society would be one that lived by Lewis’ words. Allowing even those perceived to be lesser or weaker to be free, to make their own choices, and by doing so such people would belong fully to society.
We cannot change the attitudes of society overnight, but perhaps we can change our own,look at our own lives and see where we impose the restrictions, those locks. Where do we assume we know best, better than others we see as lesser or weaker? When we make such assumptions we are actually saying the other not only cannot be free, but we do not wish them to be fully themselves, we prefer a bird in a gilded cage to one soaring free.