My Declaration of Independence: 2014 Edition

Ahh, Independence Day. Picnics, barbecues, fellowship, fireworks. And Moxie’s annual personal declaration of independence.

fireworks, 4th of July, July 4, Independence Day

Photo Credit: SpreadTheMagic via Compfight cc

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I have health insurance again. And though I’ve gotten my annual well woman exam through Planned Parenthood for the last 7+ years, including mammograms for the past 3 years, it’s nice to know I can also see the doctor, dentist and optometrist and not worry about how I’m going to pay for it.

Which is the reason for this year’s declaration:

I declare my independence from poor health and wellness.

What fulfilling this year’s declaration looks like: getting a physical and blood work. Getting my thyroid and hormone levels checked to see if they are part of the reason I have been such a moody, temperature-sensitive little shit lately. Getting a referral to an integrative health specialist whom I’ve heard is an amazing doctor to help me address my health issues using holistic, natural approaches. For the first time in a very, very long time, I’m actually excited to go see the doctor. Still not crazy about the blood work part – I get all woozy with blood draws, especially if the nurse or phlebotomist can’t hit the vein right away. (I just freaked myself out typing that. Deep breaths. Deeeeep breaths.)

This declaration also means more exercise. Last week I bought a lap swim pass for my community pool and started swimming laps this week – 20 on Tuesday and 20 yesterday, go me – and the plan is to get up to 50 laps per session by the end of the summer. I’m looking into post-Labor Day swim centers, plus I want to take old school aerobics classes again and more zumba. I’ve never been good about maintaining an exercise plan at home, and now that I’m working from home, I definitely need a reason to get out and interact with others.

It’s my hope that by July 4, 2015 I can say that I’m in excellent physical condition: reduced weight, low blood pressure, low cholesterol, healthy heart, hormones in (not out of) whack, and everything else working like a finely tuned machine.

What’s your personal declaration of independence for 2014?

My Declaration of Independence: the 2013 Edition

Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington

What writing declarations of independence look like when done by committee.

It’s Independence Day here in the U.S. of A., so long-time readers of GWM know what that means: time for Moxie to do her annual declaration of independence. Because like our Founding Fathers, sometimes it’s necessary to say what you won’t stand for any longer, and give the reasons why.

This year I’m feeling reflective. I’ve been thinking about the declarations of previous years and whether or not I actually managed to maintain my independence.

2012 – I gave up gluten for health reasons, but over the last month I experimented with having small amounts of gluten to see what would happen. Result: Everything that was going on before came back, but not on an extreme scale, fortunately. I’m back on the gluten-free wagon today.

2011 – I still have a tendency to chase checks, and freak out about money, but more and more I’m finding that if I relax, and repeat aloud “Everything I need shall be provided today”, things work out in ways I do not expect or anticipate.

2010 – I think I’m doing pretty good at being my best self in every moment, letting go, and learning to live in abundance. I occasionally have moments when I feel bad for not working full-time at an office job, but those moments pass quickly when I realize that in most instances full-time employment would require me to be someplace for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. *shudder*

What’s been coming up for me a lot lately has to do with being vulnerable. I hate feeling vulnerable. I will go out of my way to avoid that feeling. I will tell myself and others that I’m okay with whatever bullshit situation has come up because I am so unwilling to admit to being hurt, angry, upset, you name it. My unwillingness to show my vulnerability frequently comes up with my relationships with other people.

In the last couple of months I took a long, hard, painful look at my relationship with Giles. While he has been a great friend and very supportive of me on many levels, the truth was that I had never really dealt with my hurt and anger over the fact that the brief romance we had soon after we first met ended so abruptly and for no reason that I could understand or accept. I had never allowed myself to feel all those feelings down to their roots, and I had never told him how much it hurt to be rejected like that. I had simply moved into the friend zone and told myself it was okay.

But as most people who have been relegated to the friend zone will tell you, it’s not okay. My feelings of hurt and anger were demanding to be addressed. And while it was very difficult to reach that place where I was willing to be vulnerable and share my truth – we’re talking many nights of tears, and many mornings staring at swollen eyelids in the bathroom mirror – I did it. And that moment when I was honest with him about everything and about my need to create distance and stronger boundaries was an incredibly powerful, cathartic moment. I had been afraid I would be crying the whole time I spoke to him, but I didn’t cry once. Because I had allowed myself to deeply feel each feeling beforehand – something T-Wizzle had once told me was the key to moving away from the crying jags and into acceptance – I was able to speak my truth with a strong, clear voice. It was an amazing experience.

So that leads to my personal declaration of independence for 2013: I will stop being afraid to show my vulnerability in my relationships with other people. Be they romantic or platonic, familial or friendly, I will get to my truth when it means I will create a stronger connection – not only with the other person, but with myself. I will stop discounting my feelings; instead, I will examine them carefully, and when I am ready, I will share those feelings with the person whom I believe needs to hear them.

I don’t anticipate this will be an easy declaration to keep, seeing as I have a long history of avoidance when it comes to vulnerability. But I will do my very best to hold myself accountable and find that space where I accept myself and my feelings, no matter what shape they take.

What’s your personal declaration of independence this year?

My Declaration of Independence: the 2012 Edition

As many of my semi-regular readers know, every year I use Independence Day as an opportunity to declare my own personal independence from something. (You can read the background here.) Frequently I use the text written by our Founding Fathers as the basis for my own declaration. This year I’m doing it a little differently. Probably because this year’s declaration is harder for me, but, as I am discovering, it’s necessary for my health and well being.

I’m declaring my independence from gluten.

This is not about me jumping on the Paleo bandwagon – I’m way too picky about meat and fish to go full Paleo – or following what seems to be a trend among some circles. This is about my health, and my belief that Momcat’s early death was the result of undiagnosed celiac disease.

A quick gluten and celiac disease primer:

  • Gluten is a protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and related grains, such as barley and rye.
  • Gluten adds elasticity to dough – it gives bread its chewy texture and helps it rise.
  • Gluten is often added to foods as a stabilizer, or to add protein.
  • Celiac disease is a chronic, hereditary, autoimmune disease. If someone with celiac disease eats something containing gluten, their small intestine becomes inflamed and damaged. They may experience diarrhea, nausea, or bloating. And they end up not absorbing necessary nutrients from food, all because their body can’t process it.
  • Someone who is undiagnosed with celiac and continues to eat gluten may become more susceptible to other autoimmune disorders, such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and rheumatoid arthritis. They may have unexplained skin rashes that do not go away. They may have gall bladder, liver, or kidney problems. They may suffer from depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. They may have problems with their teeth. Their hair may thin or fall out. They may be constantly tired or fatigued. (You can find a more comprehensive list here.)

Momcat had a lot of the above symptoms for years. A month before she died, I asked her if she’d ever been tested for celiac. She muttered something about the test coming up negative. But anyone who’s ever been to the doctor and had blood tests know that sometimes tests aren’t accurate, and that diagnostic tests, especially for food allergies, tend to improve over the years .

I’ll never know for sure if she had celiac. But I know how I feel when I eat a lot of glutentastic products:

  • I get really sleepy. I call gluten my natural sedative because if I eat bread or pasta at dinner, I am guaranteed to be asleep in two hours or less.
  • I get weird rashes on my body.
  • I have a lot of gastric distress: bloating, abdominal pain, and what I will not-so-delicately refer to as poo problems.

And I know that Momcat’s sisters and my cousins suffer from a lot of the same medical issues Momcat did: fibromyalgia, arthritis, fatigue, allergies, asthma, high blood pressure. And none of them have gone gluten-free.

At this point in time, I can’t afford to get tested for celiac. But when I look at all of the evidence, it tells me that declaring my independence from gluten is the thing to do.

But giving up gluten is so damn hard. Those of you who love tortellini and cinnamon rolls and burritos and pizza and bruschetta understand this. Because even if you stay away from gluten, and you dutifully eat all the gluten-free substitutes (many of which are quite good), there are moments when gluten beckons to you and says, “Oh, come on, one little piece of pepperoni pizza won’t kill you. Look how thin the crust is! All the gluten has leaked out. Honest.”

I think of gluten as my bad boyfriend, the dark, mysterious guy with the six-pack abs, the guy who promises that this time he will treat me right. (In my fantasy, gluten looks like Joe Manganiello.) So I let him spend the night and wake up the next morning, all alone, feeling as if a fleet of moving vans ran over me, then shifted into Reverse and ran over me again. And there’s no note, no kiss goodbye, nothing. That’s because gluten is a selfish bastard.

Joe Manganiello, actor, True Blood, Magic Mike

What gluten would look like if it was a person.

So I’m going to try extra hard to live independently of gluten. But if the real Joe Manganiello knocks on my door, offering me a latte and a gluten-free cinnamon roll from Mariposa Bakery, I am so going to hit that.

 

 

 

Declaring My Independence, The 2011 Edition

Read the history of my personal declarations of independence here. This year, as in past years, I’ve taken the original text from the Declaration of Independence and modified or paraphrased it to suit my purposes.

There are moments, in the course of human events, when it becomes necessary for a person to dissolve the real and imagined bonds tying them down. In an attempt to recognize and allow for the opinions of others, a person should declare the reasons why they need to break these ties.

Some truths are self-evident: everyone is created equal, and everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We set up governments to secure these rights, and we allow our governments to wield certain powers. But no government can force its citizens to alter or abolish their individual attitudes, beliefs, or ideals. Inasmuch as we have the right to pursue happiness, we also have the right to pursue unhappiness. Experience has shown that humans are more disposed to suffer than to change their core attitudes, beliefs, or ideals. But when a long period of self-sabotage results in nothing but misery, it is our right, it is our duty, to throw off such attitudes and beliefs, and to create new ones that promote our happiness and well-being.

Such has been the case for me, Corinne, and such is now the necessity which requires me to alter my attitude. To prove this, I submit these facts to the World Wide Web.

  • I have spent too much time in the last five years chasing after checks, payments, and promises of money.
  • I have grown anxious and frustrated over money or the lack thereof.
  • I have avoided activities and events I would otherwise enjoy due to my financial anxiety.

Therefore, I, Corinne, solemnly publish and declare, that I am and of right will stop chasing checks; that I am absolved from all allegiance to the almighty dollar, and that all connection between my state of mind and my bank account balance ought to be totally dissolved; and that as a free and independent woman, I have full power to live a prosperous existence without needing to chase checks, and to do all other acts and things which anyone can do.

And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, I pledge to myself and the world my renewed commitment to be my most abundant, prosperous self.

Signed,

Corinne

What are you declaring your independence from this year?

Declaring My Independence: The 2010 Edition

Writing a personal declaration of independence all started with my high school English teacher, Mr. Greenman. He had us write our own version of the infamous 1776 letter in which we say we are free of something. When I wrote mine, I wrote about freedom from spending holidays with dysfunctional relatives. I think I chose the topic after dealing with a particularly difficult holiday season, but I really don’t remember now. The class voted on the best Declaration and mine ended up winning. Guess I wasn’t the only one with family issues.

Since then, I’ve taken the time on July 4 to declare my own personal independence from something. I haven’t done it every year, and I don’t always remember to write them down, but more and more I’m realizing the significance of keeping a record of these declarations. Like our Founding Fathers, we need to have a tangible reminder of what we are saying we will no longer tolerate, whether it’s in our leaders or ourselves.

So, as I did in 2007, I’ve taken the original text from the Declaration of Independence and modified or paraphrased it to suit my purposes.

There are moments, in the course of human events, when it becomes necessary for a person to dissolve the real and imagined bonds tying them down. In an attempt to recognize and allow for the opinions of others, a person should declare the reasons why they need to break these ties.

Some truths are self-evident: everyone is created equal, and everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We set up governments to secure these rights, but there comes a point where government can only do so much. This doesn’t mean we should suffer in silence; rather, it is our right and duty to create and provide new ways of self-governing. Ultimately, it’s up to the individual how to live his or her life and make the best of their time in this world.

Such has been the case for me, Corinne, and such is now the necessity which requires me to alter my behavior and ways of thinking. To prove this, I submit these facts to the World Wide Web.

  • I have behaved as if the answers lie somewhere other than within myself, when I know, and have had shown to me time and again, that I have all the answers I need if I am only willing to be still and listen.
  • I have gotten caught up in memories of the past and fantasies of the future and forgotten to just be present.
  • I have made myself wrong and the victim of self-inflicted emotional and mental violence for my state of paid employment or lack thereof.

Therefore, I, Corinne, solemnly publish and declare, that I am and of right ought to be the best version of myself in every moment; that I am absolved from all allegiance to the past or the unknown future, and that all connection between my self-worth and the state of my employment ought to be totally dissolved; and that as a free and independent woman, I have full power to be at peace, find my inner truth, live in abundance, and to do all other acts and things which anyone can do.

And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, I pledge to myself and the world my renewed commitment to be the best me that I can possibly be.

Signed,

Corinne

What are you declaring your independence from this year?

Declaring My Independence

For the last 7-plus years, I declare my personal independence from something on July 4. One year it was “being defined by my job”; in 2003 it was “seeing myself as anything but beautiful, sexy, intelligent and worthy of prosperity and abundance in all aspects of my life” and “situations and people I have released” [had to look that one up in an old journal]. Since I haven’t always been very diligent about writing down my declarations, this year I decided to blog my independence. I’ve paraphrased the actual text from the Declaration of Independence, which I got from this site.

Sometimes, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for a person to dissolve the bonds that tie them down and keep them small and unfulfilled. In an attempt to pay a decent respect to the opinions of others, a person should declare the reasons why they need to break these ties.

Some truths are self-evident: everyone is created equal, and everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Some truths, however, are not so obvious. It is these unconscious truths that tend to limit one’s capacity to connect with others effectively.

Now, whenever attempts to suppress personal truths becomes self-destructive, it is the right of the individual to bring those truths to light. Common sense dictates that one shouldn’t make other people responsible for these personal truths, forcing them to carry a burden that really isn’t theirs.

Such has been the long-suffering of me, Moxie, and such is now the necessity which requires me to change my way of communicating with the world. My personal history shows that I have been holding back some key truths. To prove this, here are the facts I submit to an open, receptive audience:

  • I was fired in early December 2006. Since that time, I haven’t been “working from home” as I kept telling people I was doing. I have been sitting on my ass, doing nothing except collecting unemployment, surfing the Internet, eating, sleeping, and going out occasionally.
  • I am grieving over the loss of my job. While I hated it for a long time (I was there for close to 3 years), I am ashamed and embarrassed that I let my relationship with my boss get so bad that it could not be repaired. I am ashamed that I let the quality of my work deteriorate.
  • I don’t want to work in an office again. I hate the idea of having to be someplace 40 hours or more a week. But I’m scared that freelancing, which I’ve started doing, will not be enough to pay the bills.
  • I am living with my boyfriend. He moved in soon after we started seeing each other. I’m embarrassed to admit this to my family because I am afraid of them judging me, saying that I’ve moved too fast.
  • I am struggling to accept the fact that my boyfriend is an ex-con who will be off parole in a month. I finally admitted this truth to my mom 2 days ago, and she handled it fairly well. But I am still not completely at peace with it.
  • I am struggling to accept that my boyfriend is an addictive personality. He has a history of using illegal drugs and has gotten rip-roaring drunk in my presence on several occasions. He’s not abusive to me in any way, and he holds down a good job, so it’s hard for me to be clear with my boundaries regarding his behavior. My fear is that I am an enabler.
  • I am afraid of bringing my A-game, whether it’s as a writer/editor, a girlfriend, a daughter, a friend, a human being.

Therefore, I, Moxie, solemnly publish and declare, that I am, and of right ought to be, living a life of truth and integrity. I am absolved from all allegiance to being unexpressed and unfulfilled. As a free and independent woman, I have full power to express my truth, love and be loved, set my boundaries, establish myself as a prosperous and abundant writer of humor, opinion, and other things that amuse me, and to do anything else I damn well please as long as I don’t hurt myself or anyone else.

And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, I pledge to myself and my loved ones and readers my commitment to the truth in all things.

Signed,

Moxie

*Oh, and for those who don’t already know, my real name is Corinne.