Finding Freedom

This essay was originally published on the website of the FFUP, but as the internet-host will cease to exist, we re-publish this here.

April 13, 2005
By an Inmate in WI

What is freedom? Can we understand the concept of freedom before it is taken away from us?

For most people freedom is the ability to move around, come and go as we please. At least this is the ‘freedom’ that can be taken away from us.

To me, there is much more to freedom than this. As human beings, we are also free-thinkers, with the ability to act through our thoughts to come and go and pretty much do whatever we want.

When I first came to prison I thought my life was over. I was destined to be locked in a box and the key thrown away forever. I rebelled against this idea for several years before finally figuring it out: They can lock up the body, but never the mind.

I spent years devouring books as if they were the sustenance that kept me alive. I learned about everything, the world, politics, different trades, psychology, etc. The body remained trapped, yet the mind wrapped around memories that enabled me to smile in the face of the oppressors.

Slowly I changed from an angry youth who rebelled against the prison machine at every step. I became a man who cared about what today and tomorrow has in store for me. I found life worth living again. I found that freedom exists within my own mind and that freedom could never be taken from me.

So, I ask again, what is freedom? Simply, freedom is whatever we choose to make of it. So the next time you run to the store for a loaf of bread, hug your children, or think about how bad you have it, just remember how blessed you really are with your freedoms.