See what I did there?
“Freedom Day is an annual celebration of South Africa’s first non-racial democratic elections of 1994. Peace, unity, the preservation and the restoration of human dignity hallmarks Freedom Day celebrations on the 27th of April of each year.” Taken from http://scnc.ukzn.ac.za/doc/SOC-cult/holidays/freedomday.htm
Most people fight for freedoms they can’t have, like being treated differently, when they are indeed different to begin with. I believe we should fight for the freedom to be called, seen and treated differently without prejudice. Maybe some have argued this before.
We have so many freedoms in this country, but the Ines we want, like the freedom to trade and work within a peaceful environment, without worry over that small space fought for to trade (I think of that Somali trader- is that racist or true?) Or the influence the colour of one’s skin has on our perceived ability to work, or rather work well.
We want freedom and no stigma. This is an international plight and not unique to us. But what is unique is our circumstance and the story behind it. There may be similarities with certain events and we, as a nation may have mimicked some of the decisions made, but we are still unique as a nation-and as a nation we deserve freedom of the bad rap we get.
Today I will be loud about freedoms I don’t have: to be free from pity and the stigma surrounding mental illness, Bipolar Disorder. Yes, I write and blog extensively abut how it affects my life, but when choosing who to send my links to, I still have to pause , think and reject some people because of how they would react. This is what stigma looks like, it goes beyond the theoretical stigma some people are fighting, it’s alive in everyday activities.
Here’s a different example. You may a gay friend and a topic comes where you want to mention a scenario where maybe joke about or to another person but you pause. You assess if it’s safe. Isn’t that stigma. You’re totally cool with your gay friend, but that pause may signify a problem. Stigma is swift.
I would like to live without these pauses: embracing true freedom. I want to be seen as capable, able and equal.