Friday, July 4, 2014

When "Independence" Day Crushes your Soul

It is not new for me that the Fourth of July sucks.

It has sucked for a long time.

I may be wrong, but I don't know anyone who's ever spent time in a war zone who ever found our National holiday relaxing or celebratory.

I tried to share that experience with my children earlier, but I don't think it is something you can begin to comprehend if you haven't been there yourself.

I can't begin to compare my life with anyone who actually lives in Palestine, Pakistan, Lebanon or any number of the myriad of Muslim countries that deal with this every day.

But I will say this: I was in no mood to be around anyone today.

If I did not have children I would have sat at home and cried silently by myself.

Instead I cried, surrounded by other people in my community who probably had no idea why I seemed so distant, sad, "stuck up" or in my own world.

I don't think I am alone.

I awoke to two status updates that struck me that I wanted to share, but ultimately decided not to because I was just tired.

I'm tired of arguing.  I'm tired of fighting. But after the day is done, I wish I had.

So I will share them now.

"Besides remembering the historical significance of this day, I am disheartened that less than a week ago, I was *told* by the justices who are supposed to be on the side of our Constitution and The Declaration of Independence that despite the words in those documents, I am neither free nor equal, nor is any woman who is "American." What exactly should I be celebrating today?" - Judi Zimmer

"Forgive me if I don't celebrate "independence" this July 4th 2014...After the recent SCOTUS decision that legalizes religious persecution and robs American women INDEPENDENCE in the workplace... I'm just not feeling the "hypocrisy". - Desiree E. Jordan

It is not a new feeling for me to realize that I have no independence.

The minute I walked away from Christianity and converted to Islam nearly 20 years ago, I realized that this country was no longer for me.

I realized that I was no longer protected, that I could be harassed and threatened without repercussion.  I realized that many, if not most, people hated me. Just for being Muslim.

I was still the same person I had always been. I had just gradually changed my ideas about life. I was no longer playing by their rules.

And that's the craziness in all this.  It has nothing to do with anything logical or that you can easily put your finger on - or even solve.

It was the first time in my life to experience discrimination as a white woman. To be called a "sand nigger".  To be told I deserved to die.

It is horrifying to realize how arbitrary hate is. 

As I walked further into feminism these last years, I experienced more of the same.

Death threats.  Rape threats.  Threats against my children.

Simply for wanting freedom.  Not just for me, but for ALL women.

As I sat watching the fireworks, I felt like I was being buried alive.  I felt like I had bricks crushing my soul.  I felt I could not breathe. The chemicals were suffocating.  I questioned the cost to Mother Earth. I wondered the cost of this poison when so many children don't eat.  I felt horrified that this was "entertainment."

I am continually stunned with the knowledge that, in my case, I have made decisions for myself that "caused" my distress - i.e. living on my own terms.  But most people who live with this nonsense are born into it and there are no ways to walk out. You can't change the color of your skin. You can't change your country of origin. 

I have to wonder how many celebrations we will have at the expense of life and liberty itself.  

And I will end this by crying myself to sleep because I see no end in sight.


  1. As much as yesterday sucked, reading this make me feel *validated*. The thing Ive come to realize about tears is that they cleanse both the heart and the mind to make us ready to begin fighting again for what is decent and right.

  2. Love you Desi - the fight continues!!

  3. Thank you for this, Trista. I hear you and feel much the same.

    Jenna xxoo

  4. To know that my feelings as a female atheist of Jewish heritage and shared and understood by a caucasian Muslim woman and a Jamaican-American woman of color leads me to believe that millions of other women of every heritage and background have to be feeling the same way. I am comforted to know that although I am feeling bereft, I am surrounded by a sisterhood of understanding.