A little over 11 years ago, I was on a day-long ferry trip from one Greek island to another. Ferry rides tend to be hit and miss for me. But that day was a good one despite having the beginnings of morning sickness. A state of being that would last almost to the day my baby boy was born. On said ferry ride, we met a few other people including a very cute family.
In this family was a little girl. Maybe four or five years old. I’m bad with determining age. And, I was quite impressed with how “independent” she appeared to be. I noted as much to the mother believing I was paying them a compliment. Apparently, that was not received as a compliment. The mother was offended and we didn’t see them the rest of the day. I was perplexed. I asked myself “don’t we want our kids to be independent.”.
Now that I have a kid, I know I want him to be independent but to still need me. It’s a complicated, nuanced world. But I am not here to speak about him and my fears of letting him go. I’m here to talk about my independence.
I have repeatedly been told I am independent. And, more often than not it was not meant to offend but was meant to say that it’s ok to need others. Or so has been the gist. Once in an elevator, an exasperated colleague grabbed my heavy bag from me noting “mimi, you don’t have to do everything yourself.”. I had been in pain, but I really didn’t want to let go of that bag. I suppose I walk around with a “I am woman hear me roar” attitude. I played tug of war with my colleague and eventually (while laughing) let go of that bag. But I twitched just a little.
Here’s the thing. Since the age of 14, I have been independent. I lived abroad. I lived at school. I have simultaneously lived in two coasts. I have had numerous metaphorical targets on my back throughout my life. I cannot be contained. But, maybe there are a few times in which I will have to lean on others in other to continue to lean in.