“I needed a new life when I was 20”

Liberation is the belief that we can succeed, a sense of confidence in ourselves and in our collective efforts. Liberation is the knowledge that we are not alone. Raising Voices shares stories of personal liberation written by students, faculty and staff. These testimonies about introspection, challenge and empowerment pretend to foster awareness and understanding about each other on campus. A 25 year old international undergraduate student explains his case.

This article belongs to the section Stories of personal liberation. Check other stories:

Read: The summer when I learnt to look beyond the tedium.

Read more: I will feel liberated when I can proudly claim my sexuality.

What has been your personal liberation so far in your life?

My personal liberation started when I was not comfortable with my lifestyle as a young adult. I was trying to achieve goals that I did not really want. That made me feel alienated around family and friends. Despite a sort of revolution at home, I decided to change my major from one focused on Economics to another related to Arts and Creativity. That transition was pretty hard after two years studying and living in a city where people were interested in a traditional life, specially my parents. Also, I had always thought I belonged to the standard youth, interested in finding a job, marrying a woman and buying a house. However, moving to the Art College made me see a brand new world of possibilities within a progressive community.

Freedom became an obsession for me although I didn’t know yet how I wanted to use it. Through opening my mind to other people and options, I realized I was different too, not identifying myself anymore with that traditional pattern. It was a time plenty of discoveries: I was not interested in women, I wanted to live in other cities and the idea of a long-term job seemed frustrating for me. Moreover, losing a lot of weight helped me to feel a new body. That figure became a symbol of my authentic identity, liberated of a heavy burden I had carried for 20 years. There are still some days when I cannot believe I was able to came out, but I can proudly claim I was brave enough to accept myself on different levels.

What kind of liberation do you think American society needs?

From my point of view, America needs a similar liberation, accepting its real identity. The country faces a necessity of remembering the origin of the country and discovering what really made this place great. Forgetting walls and other ways to divide people. That narrow mentality can destroy any nation.

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