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July 4th & My 20th Birthday

Independence Day

It is July 4th weekend and I am filled with a turmoil of emotions. For my entire life I have told people that I am “the most patriotic person they will ever meet”. I dressed on an average day how some might dress for the fourth of July. On the Fourth it was all out face-paint, cowboy hat, red and navy converse, American flag shirt and shorts, and glitter. It has been one of, if not my most, favorite holiday for my entire life. I loved the pride, the camaraderie, the heat of the summer, and of course the fireworks. The Fourth of July was all of my favorite things. But now my heart is heavy.

July 4th celebrates America’s independence. But who really got independence back in 1778? White men. Native Americans had been and continued to be forced out of their sacred homelands and murdered. Black people had been and continued to be ripped from their homes and forced into slavery under the white man’s rule. White women were lesser than their male counterparts.

I don’t want to negate the bravery and importance of the men who fought for America’s independence. I do not take for granted what it has provided me with as a citizen of the United States of America. But I also do not want to erase the history of all the minorities that have been oppressed for us to arrive where we are today.

My Birthday

I turn twenty on July 6th. In a few days I will no longer be a teenager. While turning twenty isn’t a big birthday the way 18 or 21 is, it still feels like I am crossing an invisible boundary I will never be able to return from. I will be “in my twenties”. In my twenties I will hopefully graduate from college, get married, buy my first home, and have children. I will be closer to forty than to birth. Not to sound like I am having a quarter life crisis or anything, but I am turning twenty during Trump’s presidency, a pandemic, the beginning of the second Great Depression, a new Civil Rights Movement, need I go on? Honestly, I’m not complaining. My life is great. But I’m one of the lucky ones.

This Weekend

This weekend I am celebrating being with three of my most favorite people and getting to go to the beach. Instead of the usual hot dogs and fireworks I will be laying out in the hot sun and taking picture of wild horses at Corolla, Outer Banks. I will take advantage of the privileges I have and maybe think of more ways to dismantle the system and burn the hierarchy.

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