I’m not declaring my independence today. I respect the fact that I have lived a privileged life of independence, thanks to the United States government and military forces.
I don’t need to declare my independence because I’ve been independent my whole life. (Well. Except for the two years and four months where I felt like so much shit that I bound myself to a terrible man. We won’t talk about that.)
My sister once said she was the most independent one of our family. My popular, beautiful sister who couldn’t go two weeks without a man: the most independent.*
My favorite sister moved to California when I was nine, and stayed there long after she split from the dude who convinced her to go. She built a career for herself and traveled the world. And still, my oldest sister is the most independent.
My brother joined the army. He was stationed in Germany for two years, missed a few Christmases, and then fought for us in Desert Storm. When he came home, he moved to the east coast and started a clothing company. And still, my sister is the most independent.
In her own head, my oldest sister has beaten me hands down. What have I ever done that shows I’m independent?
I survived high school, where everyone hated me for my politics (I was the only Democrat in a sea of Republicans) and my beliefs (I was one of five Catholics in my class of mostly atheists.) I declared my independence simply by showing up every day, despite the constant whispers in the halls. “Why is she still here? Why doesn’t she just kill herself already?”
I thrived in college for the simple fact that no one knew me. I like to keep it that way. My group of friends has grown, but I can still count them on my fingers.
In a way, I think all writers are independent thinkers. We have something new to say, and that’s why we write. Dostoevsky struggled with the idea of saying something “new,” since so many stories have the same themes and often use the same tropes. Even so, we are driven to write, to share our stories, to declare our independence.
Yes, I take an entourage everywhere I go. No, I don’t like to be alone in public. Have you seen the way people treat me in public? They’re awful. However, I knew people would be shit, and I walked out the door anyway.
Thank you to the men and women who serve to protect my independence. I don’t mind the nasty looks from my neighbors. In other countries, I could be executed for my beliefs. I am truly thankful for the freedom we have.
*No, I’m not worried she’ll read this. She’ll be so excited about being called beautiful that she’ll forget the rest of this blog. Trust me. I know what I’m doing.