(This entry was started on July 4, 2017)
Today is a super important day!
It's the 5th anniversary of the discovery of the Higgs boson. Oh, and it's also the anniversary of America's Independence from Britain. Despite my gratitude for what the ol' US of A has provided me, and despite my extensive work with military personnel, I'm not an overly patriotic person. Have you seen the state of our country? Have you SEEN our great orange overlord? But I digress.
On this day of independence, I, as on 98% of other days, worked. I was in the office at 8 am doing paperwork, writing up medical reports, sorting patient balances, updating a website, building a new website (coming soon), and responding to emails (voicemails get to wait until tomorrow - hooray!). I'm extraordinarily lucky that my gorgeous and talented assistant decided she wanted to come in on a holiday. I'd be 100% lost without her.
As I sat at my desk, surrounded by about 4 notebooks, 3 bags, 3 computers, and 2 phones, feeling very overwhelmed and tired, I honestly felt really happy. Knowing me now, it may be hard to believe, but I spent a lot of my life being confined by the expectations of others. Growing up in a very religious home in the South resulted in specific ideas of what was expected of a young woman, from careers to vocabulary to clothing to interests (which - moment of honesty here - I am still working to let go of a lot of the misoganistic and cult-y nonsense that I was inundated with from a young age). Getting married shortly out of high school (for a variety of reasons, which I won't get into now) to a fellow who was also raised by religious-y parents, and thusly seemed to expect a housewife who was excited to just pop out children and keep the house. This was never, ever going to be me. (Side note: He is now happily re-married to a woman who does fit that mold, and they are very happy together. I'm deeply and purely happy they found each other, because, as stated, there was just 0 chance that was ever goingto be me).
On that note, as a woman, there are lots of weird social expectations. I could list them all, but that would be a whole book itself, so I shall spare you. But, let me just say, it is an exhausting, exhaustive list of gender stereotyping and misogynistic bias.
At 18 I dropped out of college, moved out of my parent's house, drove 250 miles away, got a basement apartment in a strange city, and slung coffee for just above minimum wage at Starbucks to pay the bills. At 22 I went back to school (and have pretty much be in school ever since). At the age of 23 I founded my first company. At 26 I finally quit my part time employment and took the terrifying plunge into full time self employment. And the rest, as they say, is history.
In the last 3 years of self employment I have moved from scraping by to thriving. I make more than I ever did as a barista, or medical receptionist. I get to pour myself into things I love. I get to serve demographics that are meaningful to me, specifically military families, and folks with chronic pain conditions, invisible disabilities, and mental health struggles. As I've stated in past entries, I'm now up to 2 proper companies, and several "side hustles" or projects that currently, for tax purposes, fall under the umbrella of my corporations. I work all the fucking time. 70-90 hours a week (average), I employ 9 individuals who I work very hard to compensate well (and not just fiscally - but with good working conditions, bonuses, benefits, etc), and I'm in the last year of my doctoral studies & clinical work for my natural medical degree. Oh, and all the pain. Can't forget that (trust me - I've tried!)!
It's all super exhausting. And I end up working holidays, weekends, early mornings, and late into the night. But, to come back around to the top of this piece, as I sat in my office amongst my endless to-do list, on a holiday, I realized that even though I wasn't star-spangled, or drinking cheep beer, or blowing things up, or grilling delicious food, I was truly celebrating my independence. Independence from awful employers. Independence from the mundane. Independence from the asinine expectations of others. The blissful freedom to do whatever the fuck I want with my life, and to truly be happy, and truly me.
Happy Independence Day, y'all. I hope you also found your bliss on this perfect July afternoon.