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Free-d*mn right you can

Kinds of freedom everyone deserves to have

FreedomBy Isabelle Laureta

On Sunday, we’ll be celebrating the anniversary of that day Emilio Aguinaldo went on the balcony of his home in Cavite and said, “Yo, Philippines! We’re free from the wraths of the Spanish colony! Yay us!” That’s non-verbatim, of course. And although we didn’t immediately get the sweet taste of freedom right then and there (because, well, just ask your history teachers), we eventually got it down the road. We’ve fought long and hard for our freedom from the Spanish era down to the Marcos dictatorship. Still, many people would argue that our freedom as a nation is just a myth we chose to believe in for convenience. True, there are still many factors that oppress us Filipinos. And there are a lot of indicators that tell us freedom isn’t something we acquire only once or twice, but something we should continue to fight for even in these modern times. So please allow me to list down the kinds of freedom (albeit little, and sometimes, mundane) that I think everyone (not only Filipinos) should have and enjoy.

 

1. Freedom to be weird and jologs

And not be judged for it. There’s this false dichotomy that assumes if a person likes reading textseryes on the Internet, or enjoys watching telenovelas, therefore, that person isn’t capable of comprehending content that require a higher level of intellect. Surprise, surprise! Some people can do both. We all have our fair share of weirdness and kajologan but we shouldn’t be defined only by that. Instead, we should be free to express ourselves through them. I read somewhere that artist Vincent Van Gogh used to eat yellow paint. Nobody in their right minds would do that, right? But what if the thing that made Van Gogh the great artist that he was is the yellow paint he’d been ingesting? Not in the literal sense, of course (obviously, he died). But the thing is, we all have our own versions of yellow paints. We have our own weirdness and quirks and we just wouldn’t be the same without them. Just think of all the creativity we could be emulating if only we’re not afraid to be judged by the people around us.

 

2. Freedom to eat whatever we want

Or don’t want. We shouldn’t be shamed for the diet of our choice, and we should not judge other people for the things they like to eat. For reasons I don’t exactly remember now, I found myself watching a cooking video on YouTube because sometimes that’s just what you do on a lazy afternoon. The host, who is quite famous on YouTube, was making chicken sandwich. On the sidebar, I saw another video with the title that goes like, “Response to (famous YouTuber’s) chicken sandwich recipe.” And I thought, “Who would make an effort to respond to a simple recipe video?” My curiosity got the better of me so I clicked on it. In the video, this girl was mocking (bordering on bullying) the YouTuber who made the chicken sandwich because her recipe isn’t vegan. On her channel, she even made a parody of the recipe video and made the lady who just wanted to share how to make a freaking dish a laughingstock. Now, I have no problem with vegetarians. I respect them. Hey, we’re all friends here, right? But I immediately lose that respect the moment they take the high chair and feel entitled just because, unlike us who eat meat a.k.a lower life forms, they don’t eat “animal carcasses.” I mean, if you think you’re making a difference by not eating meat, but can’t respect those who do so you bully and mock them instead, think again.

 

3. Freedom to be comfortable in our own skin

Growing up, I was always very skinny and my complexion, dark. Because of this, friends and family members have always teased me. “O, Kirara, baka tangayin ka nang hangin!” they’d laugh. If you don’t know who Kirara is, she’s the main character of a telenovela about Aetas (also, how old are you?!). If you’re wondering if the teasing bothered me, well, it did. But I eventually learned to outgrow it. Because I learned that I’m not defined by how skinny and dark I was (still am). I’m defined by what I can put on the table and my willingness to do so. I understand where Bianca Gonzalez was coming from when she responded to a commenter on her Instagram about her daughter’s complexion. Because, like her, I’m not ashamed of my physique and color. Because who says they aren’t beautiful? And who are we to deprive other people of their right to self-love just because they are born with skin that’s darker or body that’s skinnier or larger than ours?

 

4. Freedom to wear whatever the hell we want

It’s 2016! Why do we still feel like we have some sort of control over the way people should dress? Since when was it not okay for women to wear shorts, skirts, or spaghetti straps but men can get away with staring at them and saying disgusting things like “Pa-kiss naman, miss,” just as long as it’s brushed off as a “compliment?” Anyway, you were wearing revealing clothes. That just means you were asking for it, right? And even if you’re only wearing a simple shirt and jeans, they’re going to catcall you anyway just in case you need to be reminded that you’re beautiful, and therefore deserve to be whistled at. Because everything you do is to catch men’s attention. Everything is about men, men, men! Right? #logic.

 

5. Freedom to disagree

Even before welcoming a new administration, much has already been said about the state of politics in the country. But amid all the lengthy Facebook statuses and think pieces, I can only say one thing for sure: you can’t change the mind of a person if it’s already been set right from the start. What I hate about this is how people would resort to unbelievable and inhumane ways like insulting, bashing, and threatening when other people wouldn’t agree to their opinions. Think about it, would calling the other person stupid change their mind? No. It’ll only makes them want to disagree with you more. So why not just give them the freedom to disagree with you instead of shoving your opinion down their throats so you both can end the debate with your respect for each other still intact?

6. Freedom to pursue your passions

You want to be a sculptor who specializes on farm animals? Then you deserve to be one without other people making fun of you and telling you you can’t. You want to be a clown? Then you deserve to be one without people laughing at you. Well, technically, people SHOULD laugh at you if you want to be a clown. But you get my point. One of the things I’m really thankful for is how my parents didn’t try and control what I wanted to do with my life. They were always just there to support me and respect my decisions. I’ve had friends whose parents dictate what they should do with their lives, and I’ve observed one thing: they aren’t happy and they feel pressured all the time. We all deserve to get the best out of life in a way we’re most happy to do so. If you don’t, when you grow old, you can’t even blame these people for trying to bring you down. You can only blame yourself for listening to them.

 

7. Freedom to love

Sounds too simple right? But I’m talking about being free to love whoever you want to and to show how you want to manifest that love. You don’t necessarily have to be in a telenovela to know the pain of not being able to love the person you have strong feelings for. It still baffles me how some people would oppose of two people being together. What’s so wrong with being in love with another person (regardless of gender, age, or social status?) Isn’t love supposed to be a beautiful thing? Shouldn’t love supposed to be the number one driving force to transcend all boundaries? I mean just as long as you’re not popping babies by the minute and doing other irresponsible things, then I say everyone should be free to love whoever they want. That’s something my future kids can expect from me.