I see that the July edition of the Carnival Against Child Abuse is coming up, and the host wants to do a Freedom Theme in honor of US Independence Day falling this month. Being a July 4th baby myself, how could I resist?

I’ve always found freedom to be an interesting concept. In this case, when we go looking for freedom from an abusive childhood, we often find ourselves looking for that one momentous occasion when we become “free”, as if we were being released from prison, and it would be very obvious when it occurs. There would be celebrations with loved ones, a deep breath of fresh air taken along a wide open country road, etc.

Those really only occur in the movies. The truth is, freedom from child abuse takes on a much less obvious, tone. It’s not the moment of celebration that we expect because, while it’s certainly worth celebrating, it occurs over the course of many, many moments. You don’t suddenly become “free” from an abusive childhood. You do, as time goes by, make decisions and live your adult life like, well, an adult. That means making many minor, and some major, life decisions based on what you desire from life, based on your own values, interests, likes and dislikes. It means going forward with your life everyday not in anticipation of being a victim, but firm with the knowledge that this is your life, and you have the power to determine it’s course for yourself.

In short, freedom isn’t a single, loud, celebratory event, it’s an ongoing quietness that allows us each to move forward with our lives. It’s a stillness that comes from confidence, a peace that comes from knowing that we’ve survived this, we can survive anything, and more than that, the strength to move beyond the past, looking forward to what life we choose to live.

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