Whether you lean forward, backward, sideways; left or right, regardless of whatever set (or sets) of private parts you are currently endowed with, being of an independent nature is indeed a healthy thing that I, for one, highly endorse and recommend!

Yes, YOU have the Right to be Uppity!

As a proudly uppity female, I encourage us all, including the menfolk, to not only march to our own drums Thoreau-style (he definitely did things his own way, living in the woods but taking his laundry home to his mama) but to use that drum or flute or kazoo or grand piano to rock out to your own independent rhythm.

So in honor of July Fourth, Independence Day, with my tongue just slightly in cheek, I present the following rules/suggestions/guidelines . . . oh heck, let’s just call it what it is . . . THE Nine (because we don’t need ten) Commandments of Independence!

1) You have the right to express your own damn opinion. Out loud. Respectfully. And then sit back and listen to the opinions of others. Without interrupting. Or having a superior/knowing look on your face, even though, darn it, you know you are right on this one! As you are so often, on many things!

2) You have the right to YOUR opinion, a well thought out amalgamation of facts and personal experience, not the parroting of one or two soundbites as expressed by the sensationalized media you have decided to swallow hook line and sinker.

3) You have the right to be Who you are, exactly As you are, in all your crazy wonderfulness – so deck your bicycle with flowers, dye your grey hair purple or your purple hair grey and ride down Main Street backwards if you feel like it, as long as you don’t snarl the traffic or hurt anyone else while you’re doing it.

4) You have the right to remain and enjoy the YOU that you were, before you met whoever changed your life and made the angels sing. You were just fabulous and happy and sure of yourself when that man/woman/cat/dog looked across the room at little ol’ you, teetering on the edge of that coffee table, lampshade askew on your head, doing your impression of Elvis and decided that YOU were THE ONE for him/her/it! You haven’t changed that much. Unless you’ve changed yourself. Or forgotten how fetching you can look in a lampshade.

5) You have the right to guilt-free time and space alone, doing as you please. Yes! You read it here first! Even if you have “a significant other.” Even if you are beyond-in-love with your husband, wife, cat, dog, iguana – you have the right to take a butter knife and slice it ever so gently between the two of you so that you are no longer joined at the hip.

6) You have the right to travel and/or have adventures on your own, despite being crazy-in-love with your husband/wife/iguana! I continue to be amazed by other women who, usually after a cocktail or three, sigh and confess to me, “Oh, I wish I could do that!” When I ask them, “Well, why don’t you?” they often reply “because my husband wouldn’t let me!” Say what? Put on your burqa and let’s have ourselves a party!

For the record, if a man (or iguana) said “she won’t let me . . . etc.,” my reaction would mirror the same disbelief.

7) You, by the way, you do absolutely have the right to be totally and joyfully joined at the hip; to never be out of each other’s sight; to begin and finish each other’s sentences; to wear cute matching his, her and it outfits. So if that is what makes you really beside yourself with happiness, go for it. (And send me a picture of you in those matching outfits. Especially the ones where you and your pet are dressed alike.)

8) You have the right to stop apologizing all the time, for mercy’s sake! For everything, major and minor that ever occurs. Ladies, this is particularly a problem for us, the fairer, trying-hard-to-please (though superior) sex. I am aware of this because I had to have therapy to overcome it and once in a while I still backslide into saying I’m Sorry for, a) Something I wasn’t responsible for, or b) Something I’m not really sorry for – at all.

9) You have the right to decide that you can think for yourself and were already self-governing, self-determining and equal or possibly superior enough to everybody else to be quite uppity on your own, without any guidance from some uppity woman, thank you very much.

Happy July Fourth, America!

And Happy Independence Day every day to every man, woman and iguana reading this!

E. J. Gore is the author of “French Lessons, The Art of Living and Loving Well,” available at Back of Beyond Books, independent bookstores everywhere and Amazon.