When I turned 20 last October, I went to a pottery store with a dear friend of mine and we chose pieces of pottery to decorate. What I chose to paint was a tile. Since it was my first birthday back in America, I decided to paint the number 20 and the American flag in the background. When the pottery was done, the lady delivered it to me and I was anxious to see the final look. You’re probably wondering what this has to do with 4th of July.
When I saw the number 20 in bold black against the American flag, the first thing that popped into my head was 20 & FREE. I stand by this statement to this day. What it means to me is the fact that I am a young adult (no longer a teenager hehe) and I am free in America. The United States of America bases its lifestyle on two pillars; hope and freedom. It is the American dream that we all strive for. 4th of July represents the birth of our free country and it is a day of remembrance to keep striving for freedom. In that moment, I was free because I liberated myself.
However, we are not as free as we think even though it’s 2020. There are civil wars that the media doesn’t report on and concentration camps in China. Even democracy that is supposed to be the voice of the people is full of corruption. Capitalism is the source for the discrepancy in America aka social inequality. All others want is to oppress those lesser than them because power is selfish.
This morning, I was very disappointed about 4th of July. In America, today is a national holiday which means that no one works and yet I had to work today. Yes, I am in Malta however that doesn’t mean the day is not a national holiday for me. As a waitress, sometimes, I feel like smashing the plates and yelling to the customers; screw you! As I was at work serving people this morning, I kept thinking to myself; I shouldn’t be here. I tell that to myself a lot and not just at work. I shouldn’t be here. Deep down, I know that I am meant to be in New York City. As much as New York City is expensive and stressful, it is the place where I feel most comfortable. I am disappointed that I am not celebrating this important day in my city. Also knowing that my city and my country are still suffering with the virus on this important day just makes it worse.
The only way to be free is to liberate ourselves in our own personal lives. Social anxiety, prejudice, racism, miscommunication… hate! These are all things we conduct in our minds. In my case, I need to liberate myself from my mind. It’s not easy for me when all I do is think think think…
At this point, you’re probably wondering why this is all relevant. You see, I believe that freedom is not something that exists on its own. A person or institution will not give us freedom. External elements working around us can limit our freedom and even though humanity believes it is in control of the earth, there are things beyond our control (and I’m referring to science not religion). Freedom is simply something humanity always tries to achieve since as a race, we are scared of being oppressed. America is still working towards freedom for all. The entire world is still working to improve. We aren’t there yet.
We have to keep fighting for freedom. I must keep fighting for my freedom. It’s not easy. This blog post was slightly somber I’ll admit, but I’m just throwing ideas out there.
Happy 4th of July everyone! Enjoy the annual fireworks on the East River and a tasty burger! God Bless America!