To be free is what I've always wanted.
On my twelfth birthday, my father took a tiny velvet box solemnly from his pocket. I couldn't wait to open it-- inside it was a crystal green, transparent jade pendant in the shape of a swan. He told me that one day I shall be like the swan, beautiful and elegant. He said it is not going to be easy, my way to becoming the swan. He didn't expect me to really understand what he was trying to say; I was too young to understand it anyway. To me, the pendant was more of a reminder than a birthday gift. It was a symbol that constantly reminded me of who I was not.
I didn't grow up like the swan my father expected me to be. I put a comic book behind the piano spectrum, laughing out loud while playing Bach; I punched a girl in the face for she played closed to the boy I had a crush on. My behavior was the main cause of my parents' trip to the teacher's office and their frequent migraines. My father nodded his head with an embarrassed smile on his face, like he was the one should be blamed on. He was a highly respected doctor in hospital, an absolute authority, but he should keep apologizing to the teacher in soft voice. After being openly humiliated by my teacher, he would turn to me and pat on my head and say, "you gotta learn to behave yourself well."
I wore that jade pendent as a token of my new-found commitment. At least for my father,I promised I would be conscious of what I was doing; I would treat other students with respect, no matter the circumstances. Even I apologized to the girl I hurt and promised I would treat her as my friend. But then when I saw them whispering among themselves about how my parents were summoned to the teacher's office, I knew I was going to lose it. I clenched my fist; my blood ran hot, but the cool from my jade pendant on my chest was telling me, "be the swan."
Be the swan, remember? I calmed myself, though I found it hard to suppress my urge to fight back, to be the master of my own emotions, to not quarrel, to not have a verbal comeback ready, to not always try to be the winner in an argument. But I did so anyway; I avoided the confrontation entirely, walking straight and not looking back. After leaving away from the laughter, I felt pretty good about it, detaching my own emotions from myself to see it in a whole new light.
After I got home that night, I told my father how smooth the day was despite its potential for hostility. He held me tight in his arms and said, "well done, that's my girl." I was truly liberated, in that moment. To taste freedom, one must first understand what it's like to be disciplined. The highest form of freedom comes with a cost, and that is the ability to control oneself, without which no one would ever understand what true freedom feels like. Now I am free to do what I want at the location and the time of my choosing, for I have faith in myself in finding my temperance, the golden mean for life.