Owning Your Freedom

“Freeing yourself was one thing; claiming ownership of that freed self was another.” -Toni Morrison

Freedom. Such a short simple word. How can a word like that hold so much meaning? In this life, in this world, everyone is search, fighting, to be free from something. Some children want to be free of their parents. Adults want to be free of a job that is barely enough to pay the bills. Students want to be free of their schoolwork.

Getting free is a challenge, one that we must fight for. But sometimes, we forget that it could be better to be under someone's protection, even if we have to obey them. Take college kids for example. They usually fall into two categories. 1. They didn't have the best of parents growing up, or perhaps the parents didn’t have the best paying job. Whatever the case, the student has to work their tail off in a new job while simultaneously becoming a full-time college student. The teen is free from parents. They are an adult now. But they may feel more trapped than ever before. 2. This student has caring parents that are helping pay for college, so much so that the student doesn’t need to have a job. Their only task is to take care of their studies. But eventually they get out of college and it is suddenly the student’s turn to take care of all of their bills. Again, the student is free. For a while though, it doesn’t feel like freedom.

In both instances, the student was freed and then felt even more trapped than when they were under the wing of their parents. I do not want to say that the students above are doomed. With time, they will both learn to “adult” or claim ownership of themselves and will lead productive lives. Some students never fall into either one of these categories. But no matter who you are or what you do, you will go through a time when it feels better to be caged. But I guess that's how it goes. When a bird is caged it’s entire life and suddenly freed, it will not fly gracefully away immediately. But with practice and time, it will spread its wings and soar into the vast, open, terrifying sky. The winds are bound to whirl and beat around the bird but it is a small price to pay for its freedom.