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My Liberation Notes, the slice-of-life drama that speaks to us: The journey to find freedom 

With its raw and realistic emotions, My Liberation Notes makes us reflect on our lives. 

My Liberation Notes is more than just a drama. It is like a book with words that carry depth and metaphors. Just by picking a scene randomly, you can see part of yourself in it.

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The story about adults who feel stuck and desperate 

When it first aired, My Liberation Notes became known as “a drama for introverts” because of a line by the character Park Sang Min (Park Soo Young), saying he wants to be an introvert in a peaceful way. Unfortunately, this label is not entirely true for My Liberation Notes. Even because of it, many viewers have misunderstood that the drama is tragicizing introverts, turning them into melancholy and miserable people. 

To be fair, My Liberation Notes is not merely a drama about introverts. Each character has their own story, but what they have in common is that they are all stuck.

“I want to break free. I want to be liberated. I feel like I’m stuck but I don’t know how to get out. I’m not unhappy but I’m not happy either. I wish I was genuinely happy.”  – Mi Jeong (Kim Ji Won).

This line seems to sum up the drama, which tells the story of people who spend too much time in life living inside their own “walls”.

my liberation notes

Mi Jeong isn’t introverted. She just doesn’t know how to get out of her own torment. Not to the extent of longing for love like her sister Ki Jung, nor to the point of obsessing over the problems of being a countryside boy like her brother Chang Hee, Mi Jeong’s problem is she doesn’t know where the problem that makes her feel trapped is. While Ki Jung finds the key to her issues, and Chang Hee always talks about his struggles, Mi Jeong is still struggling with thoughts that not everyone can empathize with.

“I don’t want to just say something to feel like I still exist. I want to talk to relax”, that is Mi Jeong’s simple wish, when her life has become too hectic. She can’t join groups, laugh like everyone else just to let everyone see her existence, and can’t join a club so that she can be seen as no different from everyone else. Mi Jeong is stuck on issues that she herself can’t name specifically. She longs to be happy or simply to find “the one” in her life.

my liberation notes

So is Mi Jeong, so is Ki Jung, Chang Hee or even Ja Gyeong, each stuck in their own feelings, struggling to find their way out of such feelings. So the question from the beginning of the drama remains unanswered, “If we lived in Seoul, would life be different?”. The rhetorical question perhaps doesn’t literally refer to a place, but it is about everyone’s dream to live differently…

Overcome reality and inner fears to seek liberation 

The scene of Gu Ja Gyeong jumping over a ditch to take Mi Jeong’s hat is a moment marking the characters’ desire to live their lives the way they want to. How many events has Gu Ja Gyeong gone through in his life, to the point where he gave up even communicating with other human beings? Everything is still a question mark, but to the point where one is no longer eager to talk, or even simply give themselves a specific name, what happened must have been terrible. But with just one line “worship me” by Mi Jeong, the taciturn man’s life trajectory has changed, with every small step, Ja Gyeong is gradually stepping out of his own “ditch”.

My Liberation Notes

He picks up Mi Jeong’s hat, asks for her phone number;  cleans up the pile of bottles that filled the whole room, something he thought he would never be able to do, treats Mi Jeong to a meal because he “has money today”, picks her up so she doesn’t have to walk alone on a dark path full of dead animals,… Ja Gyeong’s every small gesture warms our hearts. Love has made Ja Gyeong want to live properly. It turns a man who is grumpy and quiet into someone who knows how to “flirt”. 

And it’s not just Mr. Gu, all the characters are trying their best to break free. Mi Jeong founds the Liberation Club. Ki Jung decides to overcome her fear to confess her feelings. After spending years searching for Prince Charming and then missing her chances, Ki Jung ends up falling in love with Tae Hoon (Lee Ki Woo), a single father younger than her and someone who is also struggling with his own fear. 

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Everyone should live to be genuinely happy, not just to exist. Mi Jeong with a dream of liberation, Chang Hee who is stuck in the middle of monotonous adulthood, Ki Jung with a burning desire to be loved, are all finding their way to escape the harsh reality of life. 

A relatable story where we find ourselves in 

My Liberation Notes

A slow-paced, realistic drama surrounding ordinary people, My Liberation Notes can come off as boring for some viewers. Despite not being a strong competitor in the K-drama rating race, My Liberation Notes still successfully generates much buzz among viewers who can relate to its characters. What My Liberation Notes does a better job than recent dramas is that it knows how to dig deep into the viewers’ hearts and souls, making them reflect on their own lives.

My Liberation Notes speaks to all of us, little people who struggle in the midst of frustration and suffocation to find our own freedom. 

Source: K14

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