Phree to Stay Phree

Recently over dinner friends and I exchanged the usual- updates on our lives. We talked about other friends of ours, family, guys, and our work. And somehow between these topics we all knew someone who within the last week confided in each of us their feeling trapped and unable to fulfill their dreams. All of us had talk with someone who were on the verge of not wanting anymore. They had given into the “Theys”. Each of us between bites talked about how the people we interacted with religiously quoted “they say if you don’t by the time you’re 30, it’s a wrap” “They say the more competent you are the hard it is to find a mate. “They say marriage is a myth, an institution of the past.” “they say I have to go back to school” “they say I won’t qualify for a loan, we’re in a recession”
“Who are the theys?” I asked. My friends just looked at me. “Who are they? Like I don’t understand. Who is saying all of this stuff that people are really listening to and questioning themselves and feeling stuck all will nilly?,” my friends said nothing. I let it go. Although I was bothered, I was not about to let the “theys” monopolize our evening like they were monopolizing the lives of the people we knew.
But I didn’t complete forget about them. I couldn’t. I couldn’t completely let go of the reality that there are people out there who are thoroughly convinced they have no shot at the lives they want for themselves. I couldn’t shake the resignation people had to not only be less but to want less for themselves, somehow concocting a less than ideal life to which they would give the name reality.
Maybe I couldn’t let it go because two degrees in human services, six years working for non profits in human services, no background in design or sales, and I am still convinced Phreedum has yet to revel in its own glory. I have absolutely no business experience, just a couple of dollars, a 9-5, supportive friends and family, a God, and a goal. And as an African American female with a disability in a completely economically tragic country I suppose the “theys” would suggest I take my pride, education, support network, and call it a lifetime.
But I can’t and I won’t. Don’t get me wrong. I am fully aware of the challenges of reality. I am also fully aware that perception is everything and a challenge is not the same as impossible or unattainable. If we stop allowing ourselves the phreedum to want, to take risk, to pursue goals then what does one really have?
I’m not one to listen to the “theys” especially when what they have to say detracts from my ability to perceive solutions to life’s challenges. In fact we at Phreedum are not inclined to listen to the “theys.” It stifles creativity, detracts from a sense of community,and curtails possibility. I suppose if Phreedum were inclined to the words of the” theys” we wouldn’t be working on our newest Phreedum campaign, submitting RFPs (request for proposals), selecting non profits to partner with, and working everyday to change the live of people we encounter. If we listened to the “theys” we would be Phreedum without the phree, and that would just be dum.

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