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My letter to Freedom

by Bérengère Balteau 6 months ago in advice
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A very personal letter to Freedom

This picture was made on Canva

Dear Freedom,

I woke up this morning, tears filling my eyes with realisation. I woke up this morning thinking of you. My body had yet taken control; I could feel each of my limbs still asleep, while my mind was rushing towards your presence. And I knew I had to write you this letter.

You see, I grew up having to face challenges and difficult things, as I believe everyone has. And yet, I grew up never thinking of you, at least never truly.

So why is it that I, a simple girl living her life, never had to acknowledge that you, dear Freedom, are not inherent to life itself? But a right that can be taken away as fast as one can say: Freedom.

I believe I owe it to myself to unfold the truth of your being, so my letter will speak the truth, my truth. I feel uncomfortable discussing you. I feel uncomfortable because I never had to think of you as something I could lose any day. Does that make me privileged? No doubt, it does.

I have always been aware of the privileges inherent to my life because of certain aspects like my skin colour or where I grew up. And, I guess, because of many other things. But Freedom, you are a tricky subject to tackle. In this sense, you have always been part of my bringing up. You are even part of my country, France's motto: Liberté, Égalité et Fraternité ( Freedom, equality and brotherhood). Therefore, I grew up in a country that historically fought for you in many ways. I've been taught in class how our ancestors gave up their lives for us to be free to live, to learn and to enjoy life. But I guess I've been closed off to the idea that Freedom, you are unfortunately not inherent to our lives. You are earned, and sometimes, one person can decide to lock you away from millions of people just because they have the power to do so.

So dear Freedom,

I am confused with the world being such an ugly place for some and a wonderful one for others. I may not even make sense. I am just trying to navigate my thoughts, after all.

“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

I am genuinely wondering if I have the right to even discuss what you are. Have I ever had to ask myself if I still had you? No. I have lived my life having you as an inherent part of my days and never questioned you directly. Oh, I have talked and written about you in classes. I did many essays on the forms you take in Philosophy and how you were taken away from people during many wars in History classes. Yet, never have I had to directly question you when it came to my daily life.

All I am trying to do here is understand how you work and what I could do to not waste you while others don't even have access to you. While watching the television, I see photographs every day, every hour, of people who do not have the chance that I have: wake up and think of you peacefully. But unfortunately, some may never wake up, and others have to put you aside to fight a war they never wanted.

Perhaps, one thing I can do today: think and write about you. One thing I can do is remind myself of the many forms you take. Because the most marvellous thing about you is how you subjectively shape yourself to fit everyone's perception of you. So, I keep wondering what shapes you have taken in my life…

  • Waking up and feeling like today could be a good day If I believe it can
  • Having the choice to decide what I want to become
  • Choosing to focus on my mental health for a few days
  • Being able to express my thoughts and my opinions if I want to
  • Choosing where to get my information on a specific subject
  • Being able to vote for the president of my country
  • Being able to have a voice
  • Expressing myself on this platform
  • Knowing that I have possibilities ahead of me
  • Knowing that my life can take the shape that I want because only I can decide whom I want to become
  • Watching the sunset
  • Observing the stars at night and thinking about life, the Universe
  • Going to bed peacefully
  • Having access to water
  • Having access to heat
  • Having access to food
  • Having access to electricity

And I believe I will wake up tomorrow, realising that I actually have no idea of how many shapes you take into my life. And dear Freedom, this is where my privilege lies.

I am just a girl who had the chance to grow up somewhere where she never had to question whether or not she was free. Although I admit it, this is a privilege I often did not see or even want to acknowledge because it is hard to see the world's harshness and tell yourself: why is this happening to them and not me? Why do I have the right to be free and not them?

But dear Freedom,

I will never take you for granted any more. On the contrary, I will cherish you like I cherish what is dear to my heart because although I had not realised it before, you have a prominent place in it. But Freedom, you do come with a cost, one I am willing to pay: the duty to open my eyes and do what I can for those who cannot.

I may not have money to give, but I'm a learner who has found joy in learning, so I'll learn about you and what happened for you to become such a precious good.

So dear Freedom,

There is one more thing I need to tell you. As a writer, as a poet, not only do I have you to owe for me to find joy in expressing myself, but I must put you to good use. I don't feel like I know enough yet to write about those who sought to destroy you for others, but one day I will.

Freedom, this is my promise to you.

With all my love,

always,

B.

If you wish to read more of my pieces...

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About the author

Bérengère Balteau

And I have spent hours wondering what to write here but, just like the sailor, I too, have found myself lost but always on my way. So I write, hoping that one day, my words will reach the red light above the cliff, and perhaps I'll know.

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