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?

Not Quite Carrie Bradshaw Yet

“So my editor loved the piece I wrote for October and asked me what ideas I have for the November issue.”

“That’s great!” Giles exclaims. He’s a great friend to tell good news to, because he’s genuinely happy for you. T-Wizzle is the same way, which is exactly the reason why they are my two closest friends. That, and they pour drinks with a heavy hand. Both are excellent qualities to have in a friend.

“And she asked me if I wanted to write several short items for the November issue.” I tell him the figure she quoted. He is ecstatic.

“That is wonderful!” Giles is full of exclamations today. “You want to come over for dinner later? I have chicken we can stir-fry.”

I say yes, of course, because even with all these writing assignments I’ve been racking up over the last two months I still have a fridge full of condiments and not much else. Writing for a living is great; it’s the pay-on-publication part that sucks.

I suck down a couple gallons three glasses of water to tide me over until dinner at Giles’ place. He lives just a few blocks away so we hang out together often. I go back to finishing up the first part of what will be a five- to six-week-long writing project, which I landed thanks to a friend of a friend who recommended me. It also pays very well, and there’s potential for more assignments, so that pleases me.

At 6:35 I head over to Giles’ place. He lives in a fabulous building just off Capitol Park – great views, high ceilings, fireplaces. The place has had its share of famous residents. Giles is not famous, though he knows a lot of people in town. Being involved in the media will do that.

He lets me into the lobby and we take the elevator up to his apartment. Even though it wasn’t extremely hot outside today, it was warm enough that when I open the door to his place the cool air hits me right away. It feels so cool and lovely that I want to lie down right there in the foyer. But I refrain because I am sober.

Since he just got back from walking to a nearby market, he suggests sitting down for a while with some cocktails. Never one to turn down a cocktail, I agree.

“Wow, you’re like a Lifetime movie about that woman,” he says after a swig of beer.

“What?” This is a joke he picked up from Zach Galifianakis. We say it every time we are flipping through cable channels and we pass a particularly heinous movie title such as “Mother May I Sleep with Danger?” or “Too Young to Marry.”

“In those movies the woman is always a magazine writer and she lives in this huge apartment in New York. You’re Carrie Bradshaw!”

“My apartment isn’t big enough,” I remind him. “And how in the hell did she afford that huge apartment plus $300 shoes on a writer’s salary? She was only writing for the Post. Or was it the Star?”

Giles waves his hand at me. “It was a tab, all the same thing.”

“Still, I do fantasize about having a column someday,” I confess, looking down at my now-empty wineglass. How did that happen?

“Columns aren’t what they once were,” he says. “Used to be a lot of klout saying you were a sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Now with blogs that doesn’t really exist – you might be one of several people contributing content.”

“It would still be cool, but I’m no Carrie Bradshaw,” I say. “I would definitely have to move to a bigger place for that to happen.” I look down at my slightly chipped home pedicure of OPI’s I’m Not Really a Waitress and my $5 Target flip-flops which have already been repaired with Super Glue once. “And I would need better footwear.”

Moxie does not live here - yet. Photo courtesy FreeCityGuides.com