Sunday, 11 October 2009

Pour La Liberté

I believe profoundly that everyone wishes to be who they want to be, except that many people do not realise this innate desire and there are also many others who mute it.

Take for example girls dressing up. I think every girl wishes she could dress up nice and put on make-up without being judged for it. It's hardwired and there's nothing wrong for a girl to feel that way. Nothing wrong, until other people start putting her down for it, for whatever reason - the plainjane group she belongs to trying to keep her a part of them, the pretty group trying to play her down so that she can be kept in check and won't threaten their own privileged position, or maybe even society playing out enforcements of class distinction, so that this poor girl silences her will and 'knows her role' in the bigger scheme of things.

That's why I think when plainjane girls, who are initially perceived as simple, get attached and finally have a means out of the stigmatized roles they have been socially assigned to, they really surprise us and dress up more. With their new boyfriend, they don't have to conform to the wishes or expectations of the group they used to be associated with. They now have the (much more attractive) alternative of going out with the boyfriend wearing whatever they wanna wear, and not get flak for it.

This is but one example of the fear of expectations, even those that only exist in our minds but not in reality, imposing on us and making us a lot less than we can be. I think this is what diminishes a society and compromises on diversity and vibrance, and it's only to the loss of everyone else as well that we all can't do what we think is best for us.

Unfortunately, as most liberal-cynics will contend, "Most people want security in this world, not liberty." (H. L. Mencken)

But I'd always rather be faced with the inconvenience of having too much freedom, than a lack of it.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves "who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?" Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you... As we let our light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others.

- Marianne Williamson, as quoted by Nelson Mandella in a 1994 Inaugural Address.

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