Somewhere I Feel Free

With every setback, regardless of how minuscule or insignificant it truly was, I was reminded of all the stifling comments I endured as a child who was often told that I would never realize any of my dreams. Encouragement from sages became the catalyst that gave me the strength that I needed to eventually defeat the monstrous self-doubt that was created; the monster was the maker of the war inside my head.

My eyes still see colors, I still feel the wind and the rain, and still believe in things unseen. I still see and appreciate the art of everyday life. Yet faced with my seemingly overwhelming success, I was not looking for fame and fortune, nor adorers to show up in hoards; my dream was simply for someone to listen to the stories I tell. Now that I have come to the realization that I belong, I now feel an overwhelming need to belong somewhere I feel free.

Despite my education and subsequent life experience, I still lack the confidence necessary to truly accept that I am ready. I’m reminded that it has been far too long since I’ve seen the ocean, and writing near moving ocean water has always been a major source of inspiration for me. Perhaps it is the gentle waves, the smell of salt in the air, or opening up my big eyes to take in the morning sunrise on the horizon. The forest also summons me from another dimension, encouraging me to move on from past failed relationships, to heal my emotional wounds, and to move to a forever place to truly call my home.

Home has remained a fleeting series of glimpses of specific finite periods of time in my life. When I was born, my home was in New York City. When I was a young child, home became the house in Upstate New York, where I lived for many years. When I was an older kid, home was divided between the house where my parents lived, boarding school, and summer camp. As an adult, home became the first house I ever purchased. Now at age 41, my forever home is in a different state; I am single, grounded, and ready for a fresh start.

I still visit my childhood home in New York City, a home I now own. I find it impossible to let go of the memories of childhood, and when I am standing in my old bedroom alone, I still feel my father’s presence; hearing his voice whispering words of promises for how my life would be. Sadly, my father passed away long before he was able to see his son grow up, have a successful career, and most importantly, finally feel happy.

The culmination of daily fears and postponed dreams gave me no other option than to vanish to save my own sanity. Whatever path one chooses to walk in life, there are times in life when one must walk alone. I spent a lifetime thinking about others, putting my own needs and resources aside so that others would have their needs fulfilled. Times have changed and so have I; for once in my life, I am going to start putting myself first, and in doing so adequately satisfy my own needs before helping others.

I’ve been going through changes. I’m out of my relationship, leaving the place I called home for well over a decade and starting fresh in a place where nobody knows me, and I’m scared of what might end up being the best thing I have ever done for myself. When I think about canceling my plans for a fresh start, I need to remind myself that one must never destroy something that carries with it the potential to thrive, for everything comes around in its time, and my fears are irrational at best as I have nothing to be afraid of.

It was 5 AM on this Sunday morning that I awoke from a deep sleep, rolled over, and decided that I wanted to sleep for a couple of minutes more. In my dreams, I am always the one who takes the fall, and in the daytime hours, I always tread with care so as not to upset the balance of my thoughts and emotions, forever questioning and over-analyzing every single thing in my life as I try to find the answers to hypothetical questions I always ask myself, subconsciously, questions that I know I will never find the answers to. These questions often explode like bombshells of daily fears, letting go of the hurt comes only through acceptance that I cannot change the past.

The waiting has always been the most difficult part of life. Perhaps I need to stop being so impatient as I wait for my plans to come to be. Recently, out of nowhere, and by pure coincidence, I found what I feel will be my forever home. A place where I can write, photograph, dream, explore, and finally experience pure bliss and freedom, but most importantly, it is a place where no one knows me, and I can finally breathe.

The header image is called Surf and was taken in Port Aransas, Texas, in December 2019. The other images used in this article, in order of their appearance, are called I Can’t Explain, You Would Not Understand, Southern Girl, and It Will Be A Different Kind. I had an epiphany when I wrote Belong; whenever I think of an idea that big, it is nearly impossible to think about anything else at all, and ignoring the idea only proves to be futile as I cannot seem to escape its irresistible grasp. Writing Belong and then A Little Ghost For The Offering was truly a turning point in my life, on every possible level. It was the culmination of decades of worth of work, struggles, and feeling as if I would never realize my ultimate goal of being an established and respected writer. Now it is time for me to move onto the next chapter of my life.

Belong | A Little Ghost For The Offering | The Changes That I Need | The Fear I Cannot Hide | Always A Reason | Discouragement | Maybe Someday I Will Understand Why | Thomas Slatin Quote | Lessons I’ve Learned Over The Last Decade


  • Laura

    Thomas, your journey to the authenticity of your soul is similar to mine. The circumstances are different of course, but so many components are what I experienced a few years ago when I came to an end with the life I was leading and knew it I had to make some choices that were out of my comfort zone to move in the direction of my soul’s longings. It wasn’t smooth, but in my way of believing necessary for me to believe in myself and experience trust in myself and what I knew was right for me. I am now in my forever home, no one knows me here and I am finally free to be myself, live my life my way and enjoy the benefits of making mistakes on without judgment or criticism. Enjoy your freedom, your voyage to a fresh start and whatever life brings to you for you to experience the truth of who you are.

    • Thomas Slatin

      Thank you so much, Laura! My brand new start was inevitable, and just in time. I just recently left an 18-year relationship that was gradually turning toxic over the course of several years. Finally, when I reached my breaking point, an opportunity arose and I took it without hesitation. I’m scared of what is to come, though, in reality, this is perhaps the best thing that I could have ever done for myself. I’ll be fine, and I know that it will work out for the best. I finally found my forever home, in a perfect location, and it’s in a place where absolutely nobody knows me.

  • Amelia Phoenix Desertsong

    This is one of the most touching pieces I’ve ever read in my life! It definitely made me tear up. So glad you’re getting your fresh start!

  • Oyeyipo Oladele

    I love sea breeze for its cool felts on the body. This alone tells me how you felt, it now easy for one to say the waiting has always been the most difficult part of life. You are really strong man. Opting out is not so easy but so easy at same time Tom.

  • Danielle M

    Dealing with the internal insecurities is a continuos war, is hard to tell how many people feel like that …but you had the courage to face it and make your dream come true.

  • Mery Castle

    I believe that fears must be faced and I will tell you that I was also afraid of leaving my hometown, I thought a lot about the decision to go and seek new horizons until a friend motivated me to make it happen.

  • Susy R

    It takes a lot of courage to go through the life you have lived. I myself find it hard to imagine being able to do what you have done.

  • Brain

    This is it, ncouragement from sages became the catalyst that gave me the strength that I needed to eventually defeat the monstrous self-doubt that was created; these words are really inspiring.

  • conrad pranze villas

    I am so amazed on how you were able to overcome all those obstacles in your life. Being able to do so can greatly help you influence other people. I am really happy to come across this site.

  • Alex

    Good for you to make your passion a way of living. Most of us does not even get the chance. That said it is not over who knows the next day an opportunity will come, Live life and enjoy it your way. That is freedom.

  • jolly555

    Patience is a virtue everyone needs to imbibe. The waiting time might take long but the end result is always awesome I believe.

  • Teddy

    Putting yourself first is a good thing. Sometimes we put too much energy into helping others and forget about ourselves.

  • Irwin G.

    Tom, not only do I believe you have talent but you are an overall good soul. Perhaps you may have been dealt with bad cards early on but do not let that stop you. Just keep learning and immersing yourself with what life has to offer. You will find your place and you will inspire so many.

  • Sara McNulty

    Changes aren’t the only way to go, but when you make some good choices, there is nothing like it.
    I admire your openness, and your way of writing.


    I love how your writing and your photos come from and show your heart. I so love your work and you! I am so happy also for your new life in your new home…. new beginning.

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