So, it is now March, according to the calendar.
And I am thinking of Independence Day.
Yes, Independence Day. In March. March, when its cold and rainy, and we are nowhere close to being able to have a cookout, or go to the beach or even wear flip flops without freezing our feet off.
So why am I thinking about Independence Day? Isn’t that on July 4th, when its summer in our country and we get to watch the pretty fireworks light up the sky?
Well, that’s the Independence Day recognized nationally and commemorated to recognize the birth of the United States as a country. And its a great holiday, ensuring that winter doesn’t get to have all the holiday fun.
While our country celebrates its Independence Day in July, I celebrate mine in March. Mine may not be a holiday, and it may be too cold to have a cookout, watch fireworks or do anything even remotely associated with summertime but this day will always stand out on my calendar, if no one else’s.
For somewhere around the date of March 5th, 2007, I finally gained my independence. For nearly seven years, I was trapped in a living hell of a marriage. Things were done that I will not speak of, not even from the relative anonymity of this blog and my computer. I married someone with the idea of being loved and honored, per the vows that I took at that courthouse. However, my marriage was far from anything even remotely resembling words like “love”, “honor” and “in sickness and in health.” Instead, I lived in a nightmare for seven years, either feeling desperately trapped, or denying that I was feeling desperately trapped. I became a shell of the smart, sassy and fierce woman that I was. Instead, I was dulled down, much like the embers of a fire when it dies: still smoldering, but lacking any real flame. Occasionally, the fire would reignite, but not for long, since not upsetting the management had become my main goal in most of those seven years.
But out of the blue, my ex husband did me the only favor he ever did for me: he cheated on me. And he didn’t even try to hide it. I did not consider it a favor or a blessing at the time. Rather, I was humiliated. He had cheated on me. Who gets cheated on? Obviously, people who aren’t good enough, right? So if I wasn’t good enough for him, obviously I was broken. And good enough for no one else, either.
But, as the great Garth Brooks has said, thank God for unanswered prayers. Being cheated on may have been humiliating and left me questioning my self worth (which had been pretty low for the past seven years anyway), but it also pushed me to leave. And the leaving wasn’t so easy. In fact, it was often a fight. My ex realized who now had the power before I even realized that fact myself. And it wasn’t him. He had spent seven years in the driver’s seat, both literally and figuratively (as I did not obtain my driver’s license until I was 28). But I finally got back a little of my old self. The old self who fought and scrapped, and did not stand for any kind of injustice. And it only took a little bit. I used that little bit to finally break away from what had become my prison.
Finally, I was free. I was able to secure my own apartment. I crammed all of the important belongings into my little car and moved into that apartment as soon as I was able. And being free was wonderful. I no longer had to fear another human. I could walk my normal walk, since I didn’t have to walk on eggshells any longer.
In other words, I had hope again. And as a certain famous character in one of the greatest movies of all time said: “Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies.”
And on that day in early March, I was given a gift. The best gift I have ever received: hope. Andy Dufresne was right, hope is the best of things. And he was right about another thing: good things do not die. Maybe sometimes we lose them for awhile, like I did. But no good thing ever truly dies. I learned that lesson in that day in early March of 2007. And it was a lesson that I desperately needed to learn.
So, happy Independence Day everyone! I know mine will be a happy one too!