Mika Yeap

What’s more important than love?

Credit to Paulo Zerbato

After seeing enough good things in your life, do you ever start to wonder how good one particular one is compared to the others? Which is more important to you? Which ones would you sacrifice to maintain the others?

I’ve seen a shitstorm or two in my day, so I’m always prepared. Every now and then I mentally gather all the things I hold dear and rank them. I organize all the things I care about in a vertical stack, where only one thing can occupy a certain level. There’s a very clear hierarchy. Decision making becomes easy.

This Stack Theory deserves it’s own article. Right now, I want to talk about two things I tried to rank, and what I discovered from doing so.

freedom

ˈfriːdəm/

noun

  1. the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants.
  2. the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved.

I don’t know if it matters as much to most people, but I’m very bothered by the notion of being free. It’s not just being coerced into doing unpleasant things; the very idea that I am not able to make my own choice, or that I am following another person’s decision that is not mine, irritates me.

Case in point: I don’t know why, but when I have a meal with my parents, it’s not uncommon for them to say “have some more chicken” or “finish the salad” or “why didn’t you take more soup?” or something like that. Once, as we were having dinner, I was about to take the last piece of chicken because I wanted to, and just as I was about to, my dad said “take the last piece of chicken”. Instantly, something snapped inside and I was like “NO.” and walked away from the table.

Before he said that, taking the chicken was my choice alone. As soon as he said that, it was like I was just doing what he told me to, and I hated that. It’s not that I don’t like my dad, I would have done the same even if it was my girlfriend that said that.

It’s not about being a rebellious teenager. It’s just that I (strongly) prefer to be left alone to make my own decisions. The slightest act of following puts me back in a cage, in my mind.

As a child, I was in a cage. Maybe that’s the only reason I’m like this. My cage wasn’t the same thin metal mesh every kid is in growing up. Mine had titanium bars three inches thick, complete with barbed wire and electric current flowing through them. When I broke out, I sure as hell wasn’t going back there again. And every time someone tells me to do something, anything, all I hear is the buzz of the electrified bars ringing in my ears.

I ain’t goin’ back in no cage.

love

lʌv/

noun

  1. a strong feeling of affection.
  2. a great interest and pleasure in something.

Most people know my girlfriend and I are pretty into each other. We are. That’s good. Really good. I don’t need to explain that part to you. Everyone knows what I mean.

Our relationship is extremely high on my Stack. I noticed an interesting thing, though, when I compared it to freedom. Which is higher? Tika or freedom? Which is more important? I don’t know if it’s a good or bad thing, but the decision wasn’t hard. I choose freedom.

If you think I am crazy, consider this: which is a greater sign of affection? A couple staying together because they have to, or a couple staying together out of mutual interest, even while they are free to go wherever they want? Freedom is an essential part of our relationship, and I would hazard a guess that it’s healthy for any two people with this kind of connection.

But what about my own free will? Does this mean that I would throw the relationship under the bus if it threatened my own freedom?

At this point in time, yes.

That’s how important being my own person is to me, and my partner knows it. That’s why she tries her best to let me do my thing, and I do the same. Since I’m not a violent anarchist (yet?), our ‘own things’ overlap quite a bit, so that’s nice.

I wrote about this to share my discovery of a truth that might be unpleasant, or even hurtful. I believe it is my responsibility to share this with my partner in crime.

Love is not boundless. Those who find the ends love the strongest.

Trading bot engineer, songwriter. <mika@myika.co>