Independence: Freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.

Tomorrow is July 4th aka Independence Day.  Most of this country will celebrate by eating hot dogs and watermelon, drinking beer, watching parades and setting off firecrackers.  Hopefully more than half will remember that this holiday is not just about processed meat and pyrotechnics, but that it's about brave men and women who took a stand to fight for democracy and freedom.

Tomorrow I will celebrate our country's Independence. But I will also be celebrating something else.

On July 4, 2009 I spent the day - literally all day - scrubbing the kitchen cabinets in what was to be my new house.  The previous tenant was not the cleanest of fellows and there were epic quantities of dirt, dust, grime and mouse droppings that needed to be removed. I spent most of the day quasi high from all of the Clorox and Lysol I was inhaling, and by the time the day was over my hands were raw and red from the bleach. 

Nothing about the day was a holiday.  Nothing about it was fun. It was long and it was lonely because you see, no one locally outside of 1 or 2 friends knew. No one knew that I was leaving my old life and starting a fresh one.  

The only thing remotely July 4th-ish about July 4, 2009 was a piece of watermelon that 1 of those friends brought me, which I ate off a Styrofoam plate, letting the juice run down my chin into the sink.

July 4, 2009 was one of the worst days of my life. But it was also one of the best.

I remember when the last piece of shelf liner had been laid and the day finally ended.  I remember choosing to stay in my not-quite-ready-to-be-lived-in house rather than retreating to the house I had been watching for friends who were out of town. I remember crawling into bed, made up with my beloved Ralph Lauren leopard print sheets purchased for my first single girl apartment after I had graduated college.  I remember that there was no a/c and it was beyond hot.  I remember that there was no TV in my bedroom and so the only sound to cut the heavy silence was the click and whir of the ceiling fan. 

I remember feeling alone.

I remember feeling scared. God was I scared.

But mainly I remember feeling proud.  I was so proud because I had done what I didn't think I could do. I had the courage to leave a life that was no longer working for me in order to give myself a chance at rediscovering happiness, and in the process I had demonstrated an inner strength that I honestly forgot I possessed.

I intentionally chose to move into my new house on July 4th because of what it signified. And so tomorrow, and every year going forward, I will celebrate two Independence Days: America's and my own. 

Happy July 4th. Happy Independence Day.

7 Comments

Happy Independence Day

I need to celebrate the 4th by cleaning.
Happy independence day to you Miss Rougie!

I feel like Will Smith needs to come out of somewhere and punch an alien in your honor or something. Love you and your fierceness! Happy independence day!

I cried reading this.

Happy Independence Day.

I am so proud of you and happy for you. Happy Independence Day!!!

Did you ever know that you're my hero?

There's no way to say that w/o sounding like a snarky tool/bitch. But it's true.

The hero part.

Although sounding like the STB is really not my call to make.

Love you.

I am so proud of you! You are lovely, and wonderful, and so inspiring! Happy, happy independence day, my darling. Lots of love xoxo

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