What does it mean to be free?

Theres loads of people talking about freedom and being free these days, but what makes one free?

Freedom, to me personally, has nothing to do with the way one dresses. I mean if being naked makes you feel free – be naked, if covering yourself (with non-religious clothing or religious clothing like a headscarf or a burqa) makes you feel free – cover yourself! Everybody should be allowed to look like they want to look but I also feel like there are certain stigmas attached to it, a woman who is wearing hijab (a headscarf), in the heads of many people can’t be free, even if she wants to wear hijab because it makes her feel closer to God. I just don’t think that of it as in any way fair that a woman gets viewed as less free (or even oppressed) just because she chooses to cover herself, just like we shouldn’t judge women who go out in tank tops without wearing bras or guys that enjoy crossdressing.

Freedom is something very individual, of course there’s more universal things like the freedom of speech, but what I am talking about here is ones personal freedom.

I’ve been thinking about what makes me feel free quite a lot over the past few days, I’m pretty sure that 5 years from now different things will make me feel free, but we’re all living in the now so I’ll just roll with makes me feel free at the moment. Looking back I don’t think I’ve ever felt more free than I do right now, even tho I’ve never had less free time in my whole entire life. Not caring about what other people think about me gave me the confidence to start my IG and this blog, not caring what other people think about me gave me the confidence to get my cheek piercings done, to stretch my septum and my ears and it also gave me the confidence to get my chestpiece.

I get stared at a lot when I go out, especially if I put on colorful eyeshadow and dress in a low-cut shirt and shorts because tattoos – even today –  make people stare. I get people shaking their heads at me when I walk around all the time actually. The thing is, I don’t let it bother me because in the end, I am me and I gotta live with myself, the people who give me sometimes even disgusted looks don’t know me, so why should I care about what they think of me?

Back when I was in school, I used to have quite some problems with some teachers, never with other students but with some teachers. It wasn’t a troublemaker or anything, I just spoke up for other students if I thought they were being treated unfairly and I also didn’t care about my grades. I wasn’t a bad student, I was actually the best student in both of my advanced classes. I didn’t care about grades tho, if we got an exam back I just put it into my bag, I didn’t even check the grade. Just because I honestly didn’t care about it, but some teachers (especially my maths teacher) didn’t get why i did it (even tho I explained it to them) and they got kinda pissed off at me for doing it. I never changed my ways tho, I mean I didn’t hurt anybody by not caring about how well I did in an exam, so why should I change my ways? It may sound stupid to you guys reading this now, but I was actually sent to the principal for doing this.

The point that I am trying to make is, what I was doing wasn’t illegal or forbidden, it just pissed certain teachers off because they thought of it as “too rebellious” and they tried to make me change which I wasn’t having because legally I wasn’t breaking any rules. I was just doing what felt right to me and I wasn’t hurting anybody by doing so. They also tried to make me take out my piercings and called my parents (even tho I was living on my own) to complain about my tattoos even tho they were no rules against tattoos or piercings. I was around 17 when all of that shit went down, but I didn’t let them “win” and in the end they stopped complaining and that to me is freedom as well, freedom that I actually fought for. I must admit that I did write a letter to my old maths teacher the other day in which I included a David Bowie quote (“I’m just an individual who doesn’t feel that I need to have somebody qualify my work in any particular way. I’m working for me.”) in hopes that he treats other students who don’t quite fit the norm better than he treated me.

Personally I think you can only be free if you got the courage and confidence to actually be free. If you only try to make others happy, you can’t be free. Not everybody will always be happy with what you do but in the end, the only thing that should matter is that you are happy because life is short. As long as you don’t hurt anybody, do whatever the fuck you want to do with your life. If you wanna get a face tattoo, go and get it done! If you are male and you wanna wear makeup – do it! If you wanna be writer, sit down and write the novel you’ve been thinking about writing for years! Don’t let other people dictate the way you live your life.

I get messages from people telling me that I’d look better without my piercings and tattoos, it’s like yea, good that you think that but what are you trying to tell me? That I’m ugly with them? Why do you take the time out of your day to tell me this? It’s my body and I can do whatever I want with it, it’s none of your business and I’m not messaging you and telling you what I maybe don’t find aesthetically pleasing about you am I? People find beauty in all kinds of things, and that itself is beautiful. We shouldn’t focus on what we don’t like about each other, we should focus on the positive things and what makes us happy. I got a message a couple of days ago, from a guy who told me that he loves how fair my skin is because you can see my veins through it. I had literally never even thought about that before and I was amazed by the message. I just shows how different we all are, something you don’t like about yourself/something you don’t even notice about yourself could be something that someone else finds beautiful. There’s more than 7 billion people on this planet, how can we talk about freedom and happiness if we spend so much time making ourselves and others feel bad about things that shouldn’t even matter?

We can’t be free if we continue to live in a world full of hatred, prejudices, selfishness and idols that don’t represent anything but wealth. I mean how can we be free if we’re uncomfortable in our own skin because people who don’t know us tell us that we don’t fit a certain beauty norm? How can we be free in a world where someone rips a womans hijab off her head in public? How can we be free in a world where people tell refugees, that left everything behind in order to literally save their lives, to go home? We can only be free if we love ourselves and others regardless of their skin color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender or disability.

Being free means being able to live your life the way you want it to live, and I think everybody should have the possibility to do so. We can’t project our personal idea of freedom on other people simply because we feel like the way they chose to live their lives is “less free” than the way we live our lives.

In the end, a free world can only exist if we stop judging the actions of other people as long as they’re not hurting anyone.