The title of Virginia Woolf's famous essay, which according to Wikipedia means "any author's need for poetic license and the personal liberty to create art." For me, it means personal liberty, having a space (concretely or abstractly) that is truly one's own and no one else's.
I'm trying to find that here in College Station. Motivated by loneliness and a need for connection, I've spent a lot of energy pursuing community and relationships with others. I'm still pursuing these things, but lately, I've had an urge for personal freedom, and for creating my own world here. There's something really freeing about doing something purely because I want to, not because someone invited me, not because I was asked to do it, not because I'm hoping to impress someone, but simply because I chose to do it. I'm such a social creature that I don't have a lot of these things. When I describe how I spend my time, it all revolves around people. Sure, I have hobbies and interests in music, movies, theatre, art, traveling, but most of how I choose to spend my time revolves around other people. It's not a bad thing and I don't resent that. I love people, so I'll take any excuse to be around people I enjoy!
Every Saturday at 5, at a park in a low SES section of Bryan, there's a group of students who host a potluck for the people in that community, some of whom are homeless, and most of whom are in poverty. Since I heard about it back in January, I'd been wanting to go, and about a month ago, I attended it with my church small group. I went to it again, without my small group, this past Saturday. No one invited me, no one was expecting me, I just wanted to go. I had decided to go early on in the week, but when the actual day arrived, I was tempted to skip. I had slept in, and hadn't started on my paper due Monday, but I'd already bought groceries to cook. The idea popped into my head that maybe I should cook the food and deliver it to someone's house who I know is going, but stay home and work on my paper. But I couldn't do that. I had other motivations for going, to connect with people who are different from me, to serve, to build God's kingdom, to be loving and giving. But my tenacity in going really came down to the fact that this was the only thing all week, or all week perhaps, that I had purely chosen to participate in. Everything else I did this last weekend was because a professor had asked me to do it or a friend had invited me to do it. Sure, I still had a choice in those matters, but going to this potluck with the one thing that I had made up my mind to do by myself, without being asked. And there was no way I could give up that kind of freedom and empowerment!
So, with school being less demanding, and me being single and not tightly connected to group of friends, I definitely have the freedom to pursue things that I enjoy and that are important to me. Looking back on my time with Andrew, I realized that pretty much the entire time we were together, almost everything we did were things that he wanted to do. This wasn't a bad thing, this wasn't any weakness of mine, or me conforming and changing myself to a guy. It was simply the circumstances - Andrew had a set group of friends, and I didn't. He's lived here longer and knows the things he likes to do, and I'm new here and haven't quite figured out what I like to do around here. Like I said, it wasn't bad, I don't regret that aspect of our relationship, but when I date, I'm used to having a life other than the guy. I'm used to and prefer bringing him into my life while he brings me into his, instead of just me joining his life because I don't yet have a life of my own. Maybe I'm exaggerating a little. It probably wasn't that way 100% of the time, but it definitely was the majority of the time and that definitely was the trend that I see.
So, here's to freedom and finding my own life in Bryan/College Station! Here's to having a room of my own! When I'm not working, studying, writing, seeing clients, running errands, or doing household chores, there's lots that I want to be doing. I want to be asking people to meals, having friends over, hosting sleepovers, swimming in my friends' pool, inviting friends to movies and concerts, cooking for homeless people, cooking for myself, biking, drinking wine, drawing mandalas, going to yoga classes, going to prayer meetings, reading for fun, and whatever else comes to mind! And then maybe, the next dating experience I have, I can say, "Hmm, Saturday night. Well, I've got this potluck that I'll be going to from about 5-7. We could hang out afterwards, or you're welcome to join me." I'd be cool with that.