Here in the United States, we have just celebrated Independence Day. It’s a fun day typically filled with backyard barbecues with friends and family, where everyone eats far too much and then settles down to watch fireworks that dot the summer sky. It’s a time when the nation pauses to remember how we became a nation and what it means to live here.
I celebrated the day as I have done so many years before. I went to a barbecue at the neighbors’ house. I indulged in the wonderful chicken that came off the grill in crispy perfection. I drank a little more wine than I usually do in the course of one evening (as I was not driving anywhere). It was a wonderful 4th of July.
As I woke up this morning, though, I had a different feeling than I had on any other 5th of July. No, it wasn’t just the sangria haunting me. It was the feeling of intellectual freedom that delving into creative writing has given me. I have wanted to write for so many years but have always felt constrained by many factors.
At times, I have felt that I would never be “good enough” to be considered a writer. As a result, I figured I shouldn’t even waste my time bothering to try. But being a writer is accomplished simply by the act of writing. The evaluation of “good enough” is something completely different. I could be a writer just by writing. Other times, I have felt that I don’t have anything worthwhile to say or that everyone else has already said it. So again, I wondered why I should bother. But then I gave myself a good talking-to. I’m a reasonably intelligent person with thoughts and opinions. Why would I not have something to say?
But finally, earlier this year, I put both of my fears aside and took the plunge. I have started to put my thoughts and opinions into writing. I’ve done more writing in the past two months than I think I have done in the past two years. And the feeling of personal achievement is wonderful. From years of insecurity and fear to a feeling of having my own space to express myself, I declare my own independence.