The Fourth of July is a day that Americans commemorate the day our country was born by declaring our independence from Great Britain. What did independence mean to them? It meant freedom from oppression, having the right to make their own decisions and to live without fear of outside control.
Flash forward to present day. Destiny’s Child sang proudly about how independent women pay their own bills and live their own lives, news headlines and Facebook feeds are filled with people arguing about whose rights are right and who should have their rights limited. Merriam Webster says that independence is the quality or state of being independent, not under control of, reliant on or connected with something or someone else. What does independence mean to you?
I live my life under many different titles. I am a mother, writer, girlfriend, daughter, etc. one of the titles I am most proud of is independent woman.
Going out into the world fresh faced and green eyed was terrifying. I moved out of my parent’s house shortly after beginning college and decided to start being an adult.
Was I ready? No. I had to learn to survive.
A few years into the journey, I met a guy who I thought was better than sliced bread. People told me he was terrible for me. He treated me horribly and was controlling. I didn’t see it. Instead of getting rid of him, I let go of many of the friendships I had. I let go of my independence and I let go of me. I let all of my life decisions fall into his lap instead of making them for myself and I lived walking on eggshells out of fear of the potential consequences.
I was broken. I was controlled and the oppression nearly killed me. It wasn’t until I caught him cheating that I realized my friends and loved ones had been right all along. I was scared to leave him because my confidence was shattered and I was afraid to be alone, but I did it. I fought for my own independence.
Maybe my conflict wasn’t as impactful as the country fighting Great Britain for freedom, but my own battle was equally important for me. I realized the importance of having my independence and living free of someone else’s control. Sometimes, even now, I will see things that remind me of my time under his dictatorship and it will send a shiver down my spine. I can proudly say now that I am strong enough to shake it off and move on with a smile. I toast the young innocent girl who left home all of those years ago. She found her strength, she fought oppression and she now lives everyday celebrating Independence Day.
Girl Talk began in 2012 as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and has evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa also has a weekly Girl Talk TV segment on PA Live, WBRE, and a radio segment every Wednesday on 98.5 KRZ.