Once upon a time, the 4th of July was really just about fireworks. I eventually layered some American history over the occasion, but I still love fireworks. Fireworks are about creative, colorful possibility – and all with an impact. They demand attention and enthrall their audience with the magic of what may appear. Sure, on occasion they shoot up a dud. Duds happen. More often than not, the opportunity for brilliance makes itself known as the crowd stands amazed.
Over the years, while my passion for fireworks has lived on, Independence Day has become so much more. It’s about who I am and who I can be. It’s about showing my daughters how to live their lives boldly, brilliantly, and with courage. It’s about shaking off limited definitions that others try to place on me so that I can really stretch myself and explore the possibilities. 4th of July has become my annual declaration of independence.
What is particularly exciting this year is just how many others are declaring their independence as well. It’s not just me. It’s a movement. Whether they are descendants of a long line of feminists, feminists themselves, politicized by an incident, turning jobs into life work, or inspired by something they read, women all over are raising their collective voice and courageously demanding that the world pay attention to who they are.
For many, inspiration may have come from Sheryl Sandberg’s bestselling book Lean In. The buzz is much more of a roar, dialogs have shifted, and it’s not unusual to hear the question “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” being asked. However we got here today is Independence Day. Courageously, declare your independence and set free the fireworks of possibility that exist within you – and amaze the crowds with your brilliance.
DECLARE YOUR INDEPENDENCE!
Ifeoma U. Aduba