I’m always interested to hear from or read stories of the Free Spirits. There are people whose MO is to bounce around through life, from job to job, relationship to relationship, sometimes family to family. And with the bolstering provided by 20th century art from Kerouac to Bridget Jones, the Free Spirit attitude is becoming more and more popular.
I have considered myself to have something of a Free Spirit streak for a long time. It’s a secret pride of mine that gives me a special balanced feeling in the face of my orthodox convictions and traditionalist bent. It’s something I can grab onto where no one else can see, whenever the dull, hard, traditional life becomes more than I think I can handle. And when my fingers touch it, the Free Spirit streak that I carry at the small of my back, I become part of a special club that no one around me knows about, a club to which no one I love belongs.
That’s why I have long hair and smoke cigarettes, and why loneliness gives me a secret melancholy delight. It’s a much more sophisticated attitude, of course, than that of a teenager who says no one understands him; it says, “some people understand me – you’re just not one of them.” Then it blows a confident thin stream of smoke and turns away, bored.
It whispers to you about long road trips with the sunroof rolled back and the music playing, about the big beauty of mountains and the crisp glitz of cities, New York and Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles. You listen with a heartbeat only slightly elevated and then whisper back about sitting on a park bench watching people and feeling like yourself, and about standing on a bridge watching the water twist beneath you. It pulls your eyes to the stars, clashing splashed in the dark, ventures on the potential of sound in space. You spin around with your arms extended, dizzy, seize its hand and walk through crowds where the women’s eyes are dark and their teeth are white, where your old best friend’s favorite song plays and one girl you thought you’d never see again presses against your side.
That glamor diffuses the feeling of uselessness that smacks most people in the face from time to time. It makes it possible to take on life all at once, every moment from now until forever, planned in various vaguenesses with the overarching security of having no limits, no boundaries. It encourages you to jump at life and swallow it whole, promises you that you are bigger than the world. It transcends the day-to-day and moment-to-moment modes of living and supplants the ordinary with the promise of guaranteed extraordinariness. And all you have to do is believe. All you have to do is tell yourself that you are a Free Spirit and the universe opens in front of you like a flower.
When I’m walking down the street and I remember that feeling, I have to straighten my shoulders, smile then frown for appearance’s sake, and pat myself on the back, the small of my back.
It loves when you pat yourself on the back.