It has been weeks since I last felt freedom. With the quarantine in effect, I have been cooped up in my bedroom where I do most of the work for the pub. I am basically doing what they call “work from home.”

I barely go outside but when I do, I always wear a protective mask while keeping my distance from other people. It really is disappointing not being able to talk to people personally and spend time with them. I cannot step out freely without the feeling of being unsafe. As social animals, to be kept in a limited space is perhaps one of our biggest weaknesses.

It is a lot harder for people who are extroverts and outgoing like me. The mental toll that I have to endure is no joke. I want to go out and talk to people but the outbreak hinders me too. The boredom that creeps within our house is slowly taking a negative effect on me. Even with Netflix and strong internet connection by my side, I realized that nothing beats a personal conversation with your friends or perhaps a stroll in the beach to enjoy the beautiful sunset.

With all these, I could not help but feel as if I am being kept in a cage where I feel suffocated and restrained. This is when I realized that in this health crisis, I am like one of those caged animals inside a zoo.

Have you ever been to a zoo? Did you ever bother asking yourself what those animals felt while you enjoy taking pictures or throwing food at them? They say that behind those bars, zoo animals are meant to entertain people. It is funny to think that I can now see myself in them when I am forced to work at home. I have no choice but to do my job inside the walls of our house, yet there are still people who expect the best from me.

Zookeepers feed their animals daily. With the present situation, there are now a great number of people who rely on food rations from the government. Animals tend to get so excited when given the chance to escape from their chains and cages. This might explain the feeling I have right now where the thought of going out thrills me to bits. I have no choice but to stick with what I currently have and live with it. If animals could talk, they would have asked me: “first time buddy?”

I am now able to empathize myself with those animals in the zoo. Our house is a huge cage and the virus is out there acting like those zookeepers watching me from a distance. The table has now turned against me, making me look like those animal fossils stored in museums: lonely, secluded, and above all— boring. With limited space to explore, my social senses are getting dull and some are probably desperate for a vacation abroad.

On the other hand, most of us have resorted to the internet, entering and staying in the virtual world that everyone created. Even with “social distancing,” I tried to justify that I could still interact with others and I believed that I was successful. Despite this, why do I still have this intense feeling of having the need to go out?

No one was born destined to be kept in a cage— not even those animals in the zoo. All of us were meant to be free: to do what we want and to go anywhere we want to. We were designed to roam freely around the world and interact with each other. This pandemic caused a sudden need to distance ourselves from our own kind. It is an unexpected shift from what we are accustomed to, and now it has placed a heavy burden on all of us. The longer we stay hidden in our cages, the weaker we get and darker our world is becoming.

This country has fought many wars for freedom and liberty, but this one is different. We refuse to recklessly enter the battlefield for we fear an enemy that we could not see. We are battling an invisible opponent who is slowly defeating our men. It pressured us to temporarily wave the white flag, forcing us back to our barracks left with no choice.

The virus limited our movement and threatened our very own existence. Some of us have already fallen which reflected in the increasing cases and higher death toll than recoveries. The battle is not yet over. The human race is still fighting strong in this war. The outcome of this battle will decide our fate: if we could be free again or forever stay in cages.

 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions in this article are purely based on the author's self-reflections. 

 Lois Mauri Ann Liwanag contributed in this story

 

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