The Cost of My "Freedom"
Once, my mother and I were in our rooftop. Suddenly, I saw a bird sitting in a corner of the rooftop. I said, I wish to have that bird. My mother wanted to make my wish come true. She approached the bird so slowly so that it doesn’t notice her and suddenly caught it in her hands. The little bird was panicked. It was trying to set itself free but my mother had kept it so tightly. I could feel its small heart beating so fast. She took the bird and asked me to fetch scissors. I asked what scissors can do. She said, “If you cut the feathers of its wings, the bird won’t be able to fly until the feathers grow again. But, before the feathers grow, the bird forgets flying freely and gets tamed. Then, it will be yours. Even if you set it free to fly in the sky, it will come back to you after flying for a while.”
When I was a little girl, my father was my teacher. He could answer all my questions about God, angel and everything. he was a good resource to satisfy not only my curiosity but also my seeking for love, friendship and knowledge.
Unlike other girls, I did not have so many problems with my parents over my get up, hang outs with friends, and beliefs. My parents were proud of us for being their children—their followers.
Some years later, I was sent to Asian University for Women in Bangladesh in order to bring pride and honor for my parents—to become an educated and wise girl. Like other times, I felt my parents are the best because as they used to say, they had let us be free to choose our way of lives.
I was proud of myself for being granted such a chance—freedom to be away from home! However, encountering different ideas, beliefs, cultures and a different world, I realized how I my world was limited!
Now, I still love my parents but I doubt about the freedom they granted me. I think I have been blind before that. I could not see the world as it was. I realized that I had been seeing the world through my parents’ eyes because they had carved their should and shouldn’ts on my brain since my mind was young and naïve.
Now, I have understood what that meant when the person who had come to our home to collect our second hand clothes as charity, did not accept my dress for it was old fashioned.
Now, I have understood why I don’t feel comfortable when I am with my friends from the same age and rather wish to be with my mother.
Now, I realized what my father meant by telling stories about girls with uncovered hairs who go to hell.
Now I’ve realized how they have given me this freedom. They tamed my wild and restless soul by their stories, their advices, and their warnings. They have chained my soul to what they call society’s norms and cultures. They have enslaved my brain by their rules. I had no friends to talk with, no place to go, nothing to enjoy. I had only and only my parents and my family to be with, to see, to learn from and to ask from. They have made me another version of themselves.
The safe and secure environment of home, in fact, has been a prison cell for me that had separated me from the world around me.
Today, I realized I am given freedom because I do not dare to be free.
I am free to live here in Bangladesh, because my mind and heart are tied to my family and I cannot live here happily in such an “insecure” world.
I am let free the way that little bird was supposed to be free. I am set free because they are sure that I will come back to them, with no change, no growth, and no opposition toward them.
However, my wild soul is not content with this freedom. I have learnt that what usually cultures compel on us by the name of “good” or “bad” is not really good or bad. It’s only about common or uncommon. I have learnt that religion is not terrorizing other people’s lives. I have learnt that when education comes, the world changes. Education brings understanding, tolerance, and being good to people.
Just like that bird that did not wait for me to bring the scissors and flew away; I am trying to use what I have learnt so far in order to unchain my mind. I don’t want to live in such short time and artificial freedom that I am given. I want to be free: free to love, free to speak out, free to help, free to learn, free to ….
I want to fly away from the boundaries and break the “safe” cage. I want to educate myself to see the world through my eyes.