The first Independence Day occurred on February 17, 2007. My divorce had “cooked” for six months and was now final. How to commemorate the day? the fact? Emotions were labile. Grief for the death of a 30 year old relationship. Elation at being alive. Fear of the future. Joy of recreating self. Big emotions and big segues among them.
The first Independence Day I spent, alone, in Half Moon Bay. I ate at a restaurant alone, with no partner, no companion, just a woman all alone all by herself, enjoying wine and salad and pasta and her own company. Next, I went to a day spa for a completely and totally indulgent massage and then a facial. My minions catered to me, soft music, incense, warm oils, soothing hands, all focused on my pleasure, my contentment, my relaxation. Rejuvenated, and feeling pretty sassy to boot, I shopped from one end of Main Street to the other, buying a lovely ring set with abalone here, a wind chime fashioned from colored glass there. The next step was a walk on the beach, alone, watching kite-flyers and children playing and picking up seashells and sea glass as I wandered. Driving out of town, on the way home, I stopped at one of the hundreds of flower vendors and bought a dozen roses. Just for me. Just from me.
It was very important that the day be spent outside of the company of my friends. Several had offered, requested, to come with me. But it was essential that I be able to establish true independence and be comfortable with myself, alone. For 30 years I had been the junior partner of a collaboration that steamed backwards and forwards across the continent with no thought of my needs wants desires. For 30 years I had believed when told “you don’t want that”, “you need this”, “you don’t feel that”, “this is best for you.” Damn. I had believed instead of thinking for myself. I needed to get back to the woman who knew what she wanted and went for it. And I did.
The second Independence Day (the first anniversary) was shared, verbally, with friends. I didn’t feel such a strong need to assert my independence this time around. I could feel it. I had internalized it. No need to crow and shout and make political statements. I am Independent. I am Strong. I have my Self back.
The third Independence Day didn’t even get celebrated on the day. My personal, private, celebration happened on the 14th when I spent a night in Las Vegas by myself: dinner, strolling through the casino, all without an escort. Whoa! That’s Independent! There was another celebration though, attended by three of the most important men in my life. It involved cards and good wishes and celebratory thoughts and physical intimacies and all sorts of wonderfulness that is just between me and my sweet lovers.
I wonder what next year will bring? Stay tuned.