Today is Independence Day. I've read a lot of Facebook posts and given thought to what that means. I know what it means historically and for our country. So I gave thought to what it means to me--in my life. When did I declare my Independence?
Our personal Declaration of Independence is different, I think, for everyone, probably influenced by family and life circumstance and one's own inner strength. I can look back to my childhood and see ways I took little runs at declaring my independence. And of course, in my teens, ways I rebelled in an effort to claim my individuality.
But, to be honest, my true Independence Day came somewhere around the time I turned fifty. What took me so long? I like to think that during all those years, I was just gathering the tools I needed to own my life, to become me. We often think of Independence as becoming free 'from' something. I like to think of it as becoming free 'for' something. For me, finally declaring my Independence meant taking ownership of my choices, my desires, my dreams and letting go of the fears, doubts, and false beliefs I'd held that stopped me in my tracks.
I'd always been influenced by the concern over what others thought of me or how they saw me and this prohibited me often from voicing my own opinion. Once I let that go, I had a voice. Not everyone agrees with my opinions, and that's okay. But they're mine.
I'd long wanted to write. But I lacked the self-confidence and the encouragement I thought I needed from others to do so with any belief in my ability. When I declared my independence, I was free to pursue that dream without worry about failing and without needing anyone's stamp of approval or consent. I know this may be sounding a bit like the old, "Free to Be, You and Me". But there is that moment in each of our lives when we turn a corner, step across a divide, and own who we are.
I'm very grateful today for this country--as conflicted and screwed up as it sometimes seems. This country and those who fought to make it free allow me the right to make the choices and decisions I make and to even voice these thoughts out loud and here in print. Not every woman in every country would be able to do so.
I'm grateful, too, for that moment of that day in my life when something shifted ever so slightly in me and freed me to claim who I am. Kind of the like chaos theory proposing that the slightest change like the flutter of a butterfly's wings can later produce major change bearing the force of hurricane winds.
So here I am, baby, in the midst of the hurricane--and loving every minute of it. Sitting in my pjs at three in the afternoon on Independence Day and writing yet another book. And not giving a damn what anyone would think of that. Oddly enough, the title is Flight of Fancie. And it's about--you guessed it--a young woman's claim to her own independence.
I hope today you all celebrate both the Independence we hold as Americans and your own personal independence. Be yourself! There's not another one out there like you.