I am a big fan of Christmas, but if you ask me what my favorite holiday is, I will have to go with 4th of July. It’s not just that I appreciate stars and stripes (because, take one look at my closet and you will see that I do), it’s that I feel like 4th Of July has no pressure to celebrate any certain way. Sure, there are some traditions that are almost universal, but there’s no set group of family or people that you have to spend the day with. The term “American” is so vast, that really, no matter your religious affiliation, family drama (or lack thereof), bank account status, or celebratory style, you can have a happy 4th of July. You can go out or you can watch fireworks from the couch. You can grill hot dogs, or you can get takeout. You can wear an Uncle Sam hat or you can throw on an old tee shirt.
In a way, 4th of July is a lazy holiday, and well, it’s fitting, because America is sometimes a little lazy. But hey, when it’s the middle of summer, what’s wrong with an easy, lazy celebration?
My personal 4th celebration this year was easy. Give me friends, fried pickles, beers, and fireworks, and I’m over the moon, but all this joy also got me thinking about a few underrated freedoms that I and those close to me get the chance to personally exercise in this great nation. For example, thanks to the USA, my friends and I can proudly have:
The freedom to wear leggings as pants
The freedom to get chicken nuggets as a side with your burger
The freedom to rock American themed nail art
The freedom to use whatever emoji you please
The freedom to fast forward through commercials with your DVR
The freedom to listen to the same Foxy Shazam song on repeat for a week straight
Historically, the freedom to throw tea into a harbor because I AM OVER PAYING TAXES
The freedom to spend way too much on fancy cheese at Whole Foods
The freedom to see Pixar movies in theaters and cry at their simple beauty, no matter how old you are
The freedom to daydream and read all day in bed
The freedom to write in whoever you want on the presidential ballot (even though it’s very rare that Beyonce and/or Miranda Lambert will win)
The freedom to dance in the aisle at the grocery store
The freedom to say “I love you” to anyone that strikes your fancy
The freedom to turn off your phone for a while and soak up life wholeheartedly
The freedom to take college classes or even major in ridiculously creative things like Writing, Pop Culture Studies, Television, Duct Tape Art, etc!
The freedom to get tattoos and be proud of the fact that you’ll be the ‘resident badass’ of the retirement home in 60 years
The freedom to change cities, friendships, relationships, and jobs, when you feel like one of them isn’t letting them be 100% of the person you need to be
The freedom to waste your afternoon on YouTube learning hair braiding tutorials
The freedom to wear bright neon socks with business-professional shoes (like a little secret that only you know!)
The freedom to NOT agree with everything someone tells you to believe and to express this in a healthy way, publicly, without fear
The freedom to have our needs like food allergies, dietary restrictions, skin sensitivities, etc, catered to by restaurants and stores! We can be picky!
The freedom to take other traditions from all cultures and put em all together in a red white and blue melting pot and call it AMERICAN.
So I hope this Fourth of July (or every single day of this year so far) that you listened to some Bruce Springsteen, rocked an American flag bandanna, lit things on fire, drank a beer, ate a burger, ooh’d and ahh’d at fireworks, or that you did none of the above, because ultimately, you had, and continue to have, that choice.
There are men, women, and children of all shapes, sizes, sexual orientations, races, creeds, and languages who have fought for and continue to fight for our right to have that choice of celebration and furthermore, simply, fight for our existence as Americans, lazy and easy as it may be for some.
It’s a beautiful place we live in, and however you decide to celebrate this great land of ultimate self-expression is lovely and accepted.
So God Bless America, flaws and all. We may not have it together, but we can still be proud in the midst.
And no matter what, I can promise you I will personally fight forever for the right to have big hair, for all generations.
What underrated freedoms are you thankful for?