Confessions of a Laid-off Lawyer

Just Your Average Joe Blogging Away His Debt—In One Year or Less

Declare Your Independence

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Total Black: $455.46
Total Red: $249,541.52

Happy Independence Day!  At least those of you who are American or live in the United States.  And regardless whether you do, why not use today as an impetus to revitalize your commitment to freedom.  To your own freedom, that is.

In Freedom From or Freedom To I blogged some about the difficulties of employment and our modern life.  It got me thinking about what today signifies.  As I write this, millions of people across the United States are engaging in celebrations commemorating the day America declared its independence from the British monarchy.  It’s definitely a day worth noted.  Arguably one of the first times in human history that a group of people rejected their government and formed a new one themselves.  Thus, this day represents rejecting tyranny and external control.

So what do you declare your independence from?

Why not use this day as an opportunity to free yourself from the yoke of something oppressive in your life?  Perhaps it’s those cigarettes you can’t put down.  Or that coffee you can’t stop drinking.  Spending?  Gambling?  Shopping?

Alright, so perhaps those are big tyrants on our backs that we can just off with one day.   So how about a smaller one?  How about freeing your mind instead?  Declare your independence from “can’t”!  Or “shouldn’t.”  Declare your independence from “I’d never get _____” and fill in the blank with that term or phrase: perhaps it’s “her” or “that job” or “a raise” or even “better.”  Maybe we can turn this day into something more than fireworks, beer, and potato salad.  All good things, but why not supplement with a mid-year resolution.

I declare my independence from worrying what other people think about me.  Talk about something tyrannical?

See, Lord and Lady invited me out to Lady’s condo out west, just outside of Frederiksted.  I was a bit apprehensive because they’re older and, of course, I’m not.  So I wasn’t sure what sort of crowd it would be.  That, and white people aren’t all that plentiful here, so there’s sometimes the unmarried woman to watch out for, ready to sink her nails into some fresh meat.  But I digress.  I haven’t told Lord & Lady that I’m gay.  An appropriate occasion never arose.  But sometimes you can manufacture one.  I didn’t, however, because I assumed they’d be homophobic.  Both come from southern states.  And if other white people on island are any indication, I doubt I’d find any solace in their company.

How wrong I was.  Lady’s neighbors at this condo complex are a gay couple.  They hung out with us and with her and her guests all day.  And of those guests, one was a Puerto Rican woman.  Two others were African-American women who stopped by.  A third is from Poland originally.  It was an awesome day.  I snorkeled.  I ate.  I swam in their pool.  And I learned that I just have to stop judging others and judge myself for others.  The control we give others over ourselves can be crippling.

Declaring my independence from worrying about what others think will not be easy.  At all.  It’ll require me to finally remove the door off that ol’ closet.  To stop worrying about the Joneses.  To stop comparing myself, my journey, and my progress to others.  And to stop measuring my shortcomings or my successes by others.  And I’m not even sure how to start.  Well . . . no, that’s not entirely accurate.  I start by speaking it aloud.  By subpoenaing the tyrant into the court of me where I can mete out some justice.  The steps after that are a bit foggy.  But I’ll get there one step at at time by just being me.  The Joneses aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.  Sometimes they’re more; sometimes less.  But I’m not going to see that if I’m too busy looking at myself and comparing and contrasting.  Should also help me save some money too.

Happy Independence Day!

3 Responses

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  1. “And I learned that I just have to stop judging others and judge myself for others. The control we give others over ourselves can be crippling.”



    July 5, 2010 at 09:36

  2. Lord and Lady sound like neighborly people. Did you end up letting them know you were gay when you met the gay couple (not that I think you’re under any obligation to share that info with them, just curious).

    It sounds like the new environment is giving you opportunities to think deeply about what matters and you’re taking advantage of those opportunities. Being apprehensive would have been a valid reason to decline the invitation, it’s great that you took the risk and discovered Lord and Lady were different than expected stereotypes. I have also been pleasantly surprised when i took risks and found out my preconceived notions about people were inaccurate.

    Enjoy the rest of your holiday!


    July 5, 2010 at 11:03

  3. I didn’t; not really a moment. There were about ten other people there. But yeah . . . I’m glad I went. I really feel better about them and the time I’ll spend here.

    Laid-off Lawyer

    July 5, 2010 at 11:11

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