One cannot truly experience freedom without first experiencing some level of constraint. The absence of freedom is almost always determined by societal factors, including peer pressure, or in more drastic cases, domestic abuse or poverty. My most significant restriction has been the constant struggle between cultural and societal expectations regarding who I am and what I am supposed to become. Freedom for me is when I am able to, even if it is for a brief moment, break away from all my troubles whether it be through exercising, or something simple such as music.
In a sense, freedom can never permanently be obtained. We will always have something that constrains us, either physically, mentally, emotionally, or even spiritually. These four factors can drastically vary for many people, and in my case, I face restrictions in almost all of them. The moments where I can break away from those factors of restriction are when I can achieve freedom. I will never have everlasting liberty, but if I can last even a few moments without having to worry about any errands, emotional struggles, boundaries of societal expectations, cultural expectations, or etc, I have acquired freedom.
Music is my main gateway to obtaining freedom. It can almost be considered a form of meditation; I am able to block off the world and my problems temporarily by losing myself in musical harmony. Listening to the right song at the right moment is my ultimate form of euphoria in which freedom is birthed. Coming from an Asian-American family, my biggest conflict is keeping up with cultural expectations.
I am constantly faced with the pressure of what my family expects out of me and what I must do to meet their standards. In this way, I frequently feel as if I am shackled by my cultural requirements and never entirely liberated. At times, cultural expectations even caused me heavy amounts of stress. By far, for an Asian-American, this has been my hardest and most challenging problem, and because of the struggles I have experienced through this, I am even more grateful for my limited freedom.
More than often, societal expectations take away freedom by stealing the privilege of peoples own opinions and preferences without being judged. I believe that everything I have become up till now has been determined by society, not me. The clothes I wear, the way I think, the way I act, even the friends I hang out with can probably be traced back to societal constrictions. In this sense, not only me, but everybody has encountered some degree of limitations. When I look around, I can probably say that not a single person is free from everything. Even today, I am still enslaved under society. To entirely break away and live in complete freedom seems nearly impossible to me.
I can only appreciate freedom, because I have experienced the restrictions of my culture and my society. To others, freedom can resemble a different significance, but ultimately the significance is depended upon what kind of struggle he or she went through first. Without some level of constrain in anything that revolves around people, the entire connotation of freedom is lost. In similar regards, freedom is never permanent. Especially for me, I will always have something, serious or not, that will hold me back to some degree. Faced with constant pressure from my culture and family, and with a mental boundary of the rules of society ingrained in my head, I define freedom only when I can break apart from these limitations through a median such as music.