Freedom    by    Ruth Utnage

When you have never had your freedom taken away you don’t truly appreciate its beauty and importance. I know that is a highly assumptive statement, but it is definitely true.

Prisons of all kinds are built. People build prisons of their own worst fears, neighborhoods, limitations…its saddens me. It’s not just a potential thing, it’s a you’re-not-recognizing-you’re-doing-it thing. For instance, can you travel to space? Just answer the question to yourself. Most probably said “Well, technically, yes, but…”, it’s the ‘but’ that’s a prison. Voices of doubt begin emerging, telling you that you’ve missed that shot, your too this or too that, its “unrealistic” (yet another prison).

You can go for a drive, walk to the grocery store, and date whoever. You can get on the internet and search for something and get all kinds of results, nothing is filtered, not like China or many other countries. When you create something like a poem or piece of art or come up with an idea you can possess that as your own property, your own creation. I do not have the right, I own nothing. Everything I create can technically be the State’s.

I have been watching the little tidbits the news drops about China and their pro democratic struggle. I have to wonder if that’s what they are really protesting for, are 2 million people really gathering every weekend in the name of Democracy? Is there truly violence happening? I think it relevant to me because I know that while the Chinese enjoy distinct cultural differences and advantages that Americans can barely comprehend, specifically surrounding a government that thinks and strategizes in dynasties as opposed to 4-year increments, I too struggle for freedom that I see others simply squandering. Truthfully, it hurts to witness on all fronts.

I have been given a life sentence. In about 18 months I will see a parole board that I am for all intents and purposes married to for life. It was and is an arranged marriage by the state that, technically, I asked for and agreed to when I committed my crime. All my decisions must be ran though them. I don’t resent them, I embrace it and view it as a marriage, a commitment that I will remain faithful to, but in that I understand freedom. Sometimes we can only understand something when we understand precisely what it is not or when it’s gone.

Even once I get out apartheid-like restrictions are upon my being. Don’t walk here, I must be a certain amount of feet away from there, I cannot live here or there, my relationships must be pre-approved by the State of Washington, my home and belongings will always be subject to complete inspection, I must always have a full account of my existence, I cannot vote…and that is “freedom” I have had to earn, freedom that I now appreciate.

One day, my friends, we will all be free. Free from the prisons of our minds and the prisons of our continents, our countries, our states, and our cultures. One day we will exist in some other time and dimension where we will simply be brothers and sisters who no longer understand the strange terms known as “government”, “prison”, and “impossible”.

Please, dream and dream in abundance, to the point of indulgence, dream.

With Love
Ruth Utnage

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