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You Might Just Get It

Why is getting what you wish for sometimes more problematic than getting what you did not ask? I've a theory. Perhaps because the responsibility for your decisions falls squarely on your shoulders, and you shall have nobody else to blame but yourself. I have coined some words for such situations: "Ginusto mo iyan eh. Malaya ka naman."

There is freedom in not being free to choose. Most wail and whine and complain when their freedoms are limited and constrained: I want to do it my way, I want to decide for myself. Then go ahead, be my pretty guest.

What happens next, in that aspired-for moment of freedom, may be absurd and impossibly amusing. Unable to decide for himself, or unable to blame anyone else in case he makes a mistake, he suddenly feels the shudder of freedom and the burden of choice. He fumbles and stutters as he finally chooses what he says he had always wanted but never got around to it because of other people's whips and canes. But at that moment of release, a scene he had endlessly played in his waking dreams, his decision, whether it be this woman or that career, this life or that death, remarkably ends up as an arbitrary judgment. You, you were longing for freedom and you blew it.

But because people are watching, and the last thing he wants to hear is I told you so, he bluffs his way to a happiness that while rotten and fake will nevertheless stand and endure: he will keep the reasons secret, maintain his posture and extol until his death his hard-won freedom--all the while muttering to himself how he did not know freedom and happiness were mutually exclusive, hiding his longing for the whip and the guard because at least they gave him some sense of meaning and direction. Even a lack of meaning or direction is in itself a meaning, a direction.

I understand why some prisoners commit higher crimes when their sentences are about to end, while others, still, find it easier to kill themselves and dispense with all that ceremony.


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