Written By Ruhani Koul (Grade 8)


Are we truly free? Freedom should mean we can be ourselves- and do what we love, no matter what may befall us. It is the ability to represent myself as I see myself to be, not having to hide or disguise who I am to pursue happiness, fulfilment, and growth.

 The word freedom is perceived by many, in different ways. It could be the ability to live without enslavement, or under custody. Or even just able to breathe in the fresh air and live to reach our destiny. My opinion on freedom is more abstract than most, although quite simple. The world is like a cage, where we are the birds. Trapped by high expectations, low standards, and judgemental gazes. A cage trapping us from loving ourselves, through impossible templates. I sometimes wonder why we push ourselves to become like the girl designed on the world’s blueprint. Or the flawless, but artificial people on the billboards around each city. 

Freedom to me is when we can forgive ourselves. When we can speak ourselves and love ourselves. The world, although we are free- traps us to believe in an example. In a standard, no one can reach. I am not free, because I am weighed down by the beauty standards, the expectations of all the people around me, and the endless worries that befall me. 

No human was born to be perfect, but in our carefully constructed world- we believe we have to be. We must be strong and tall, smart, and successful, rich, but loving. Instead of being ourselves, we are forced to put on a persona- to be accepted by the standards we were born into. In this world, it is not the soul that counts- but rather, what we can’t change. Our looks, our race, our gender identity, all take part in our never-ending journey to perfection. 

I will truly feel free when I am allowed to relax, and after years of hard work and good impressions- settle down to reinvent myself. When I can speak what’s on my mind, even if it makes people around me scoff, or if it’s different from what others may think. Society’s definition of freedom comes with an idea of perfection, something that traps us from being free. I will feel free when I can love myself, speak myself, and grow myself. And I hope others can learn too, that no matter their gender identity, race or nationality, before you love someone else, you should learn to love yourself first. 

 I want to be free from freedom. 


Featured Image Courtesy – Peoria Criminal Defence Attorney

Ruhani Koul
My name is Ruhani Koul, and I am 13 years old. I enjoy journaling, art and I love writing poems, books, and essays. I am from India, but I currently live in Zurich, which has now become my home. I hope my literature takes you somewhere interesting and makes you want to explore too.

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