The chains around my legs and arms offer no choice but to obey. Deprived of food, subjected to exhausting labor, and lacking any power to alter my condition, my humanity is repressed. I can smell death on the horizon, but I find withering strength within me to fight off the pain, enduring the cold and loss of everything and everyone.

Freedom. Blood streaming and water parting…freedom?

Freedom is a complex word, lacking an exact definition. In my opinion, it represents the strength and will to abide by your individual convictions. Rejecting popular opinions or rebellious ones, and embracing what you consider essential, signifies true strength and freedom.

Conformity is lethargy and confirms weakness. It may be comfortable to conform, but it deprives you of your greatest asset, the freedom to think for yourself.

Insecure people tend to want to please everyone, flatter the powerful, and never break the rules.

True security and confidence are demonstrated when you opt to stand aside, choosing the exits or entrances, time, place, and people to look up to or to avoid.

Some fundamental truths apply to life.

Hatred is bad, while love is good. We should not use our life manuals to judge others. Embracing differences should be the first commandment.

We all face battles that no one else can truly comprehend, so allowing people to believe in what gives them comfort helps them cope with life.

Freedom? Choosing to smile, or frown. You can choose to walk or to run or to just sit still. The ability to choose represents freedom.

In a world that thrives on conformity and the lure of fitting in regardless of the ideology, make a choice for yourself.

Live and let live.