The American Way

What does it mean to be a U.S. citizen? Understanding the American psyche.

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

A personal declaration of independence from my brain.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one person (aka ME) to dissolve the psychological bands which have bound me with neuroses, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's G-d entitle me, a decent respect to the opinions of humankind requires that I should declare the causes which impel me to this separation.

In no particular order, and without any muskets, I hereby declare myself independent from:

1.     The past

Whatever came before now is over. Which is not to say that I don’t make scrapbooks, watch re-runs, and even enjoy jogging backwards. But I do have to think in the present tense. I want to be more conscious about how or why I hold on to history. Scars are sealed, so why re-open them? Regrets – I’ve had more than a few. I hereby release lies, empty promises, and all the diet soda I consumed while pregnant. I also let go of the “firsts” and rough drafts and even the sentence I wrote before this one. So there.

2.     The future

Contrary to popular/my belief, I have no supernatural skills and can’t possibly prepare for tomorrow fully. When I chew off the skin on my thumb and make lists for my lists about what if’s, I’m not only missing out on today, but I’m making everyone around me miserable.

3.     Fancy hair products

Yes, I get sucked into such key phrases as “all-natural ringlets”, “paraben-free”, and “put an end to frizz!” Hair products are sadly time and money suckers for me. Also, turns out if I jump into the ocean and let my hair dry encrusted with seaweed and sand, I look pretty much the same.

4.     Other people’s expectations of me

Except when I promised something and have yet to make good on that promise.

5.     The words “I promise”

Appearing way too often in my vocabulary. Most of the time it leads to #4.

6.     Comparisons

To other people, other timelines, other moms. To everyone’s “better” ideas for making money, raising awareness, saving the world and increasing muscle tone. To all the people I admire and aspire to be like – I can do this without seeing myself as less than them. Because comparing myself and getting jealous of what someone else has or does is supremely ungrateful of me. How dare I forget all the amazing parts of my own life? Also, most of the time when I’m comparing myself to others, that means I’m making assumptions and I really don’t know the whole story behind anyone’s eyes or skin or smile.

7.     Protein bars that promise to make me full or boost my metabolism

‘Nuff said.

8.     My kids

This is so hard to say let alone write, but I know I have to give them their independence and that means distinguishing who I am beyond their mom. My own mother and I struggled for thirty years to figure out how we were separately, and now that she is gone I still feel like I’m betraying her sometimes when I stray from her recipes or don’t visit her grave. But I am a different person than she was and that’s how I know I truly loved her. I want my kids to be able to say the same thing about me when I’m gone too.

9.     Visions

Whether they are idyllic with orange sunsets and Academy Awards or nightmares that shake me awake in a hot mess, these are just my imagination. Strings attached to my unconscious that I can either tie down or snip away. I can set some goals to get outside at dusk. I can outline my prize-winning screenplay. I can take deep breaths and light some white sage around my bed to dispel nightmares. And then, most importantly I have to pinch myself and join reality.

10.   My job, Twitter handle, inability to sew, nose size, running speed, and fear of roller coasters

11.   My brain and all of its crippling obsessions

Ha! I know this is kind of a laughable statement but I have to raise my battle cry and also surrender. I am determined to break free of these spells that hold my breath captive and wind my brain into snarls. I vow to try to put my brain in a different room, jump into a cold pool – or whatever body of water is near me - and float. Trusting that I am more than my thoughts, fears, promises and protein bars. Knowing in independence, I can find my greatest strengths.



The American Way