I know people who are dependent. This is for a lot of reasons, ranging from emotional abuse to addiction to mental illness. I flat refuse to be one of these people, so being independent comes fairly naturally.
Independence: When other people could do things for you, but your pride or distrust prevents you from allowing them to do so. Your relationships are limited as you disconnect from others.
My father insists this is a good thing, because it means that I don't need anyone. I guess this is true, since it means I get to pick and choose who I have in my life. They're there because I want them, not because I am dependent on them.
But today, I learned the hard way what interdependence is.
Interdependence: When you could do things yourself, but you allow others to do them, recognizing the efficiency thereof. You are free expend your energy on your own particular kind of excellence, rather than only your (independent) survival.
My glasses are broken. The earpiece is loose to the point of falling off at the hinge (no, it's not the screw; it's not that simple.) My glasses sit crooked on my face, and their weight is mostly on my nose instead of my ears. It's terribly uncomfortable. So, I looked up directions the closest Lenscrafters, copied down the insurance information my parents recited over the phone, and drove to Murray.
Anyone that knows me knows that I don't do well with finding new places. Lenscrafters was no exception. Oh, I got to the street fine, but made an assumption that lead me not to the mall, but to the similarly named strip mall just before it. The strip mall, by the way, had several optometrists, none of which were Lenscrafters, or for that matter open. So I maintain that between the name and the plethora of almost-but-not-quite places, my confusion was justified.
I parked in the strip mall to get my bearings, next to one of those little decorative parking lot islands. You know the kind -- they slap a tree and a couple of rocks in the middle of a parking lot, with a little curb around it. Well, I misjudged how far I needed to pull forward before I turned out of the space. My car rolled onto the curb. No big deal ordinarily, but then my car jostled and made the most horrifying crunchy, scraping noise you can think of.
Instantly, I stopped the car and put it in reverse. Touch the accelerator - repeat awful scrapey noise. But I was off the curb at least. My caution was extreme as I pulled forward some more. That's surprising considering my blood pressure in that moment. Did I have a flat? (Done that before.) Did I bend the rim? (Done that before, too.)
The car didn't seem to be handling poorly, so I didn't think so. That's when I noticed the great big ROCK placed in just the right place to produce that gut-wrenching sound. As I drove, there was a new noise.
Great, I thought. I broke something essential on the underside of my car. I pulled into the mall just across the way -- ironically, in that moment I realized it was where I should have been to begin with.
Parking once more, I decided I'd just have to get out and look at it. I shut off the car. Now I'm going to be stuck in Murray, and have to call someone to pick me up.
I got out, and closed the door behind me. Dad is going to be so sad. He just gave this car to me, and it was in such good shape. His other kids break cars. Dah, I hate that apparently I'm no different. I'll have to get into my savings to pay for the tow truck, and fix my car, and WHY THE HECK DO I EVER LEAVE THE HOUSE? I rounded the front of my car, and looked down.
It wasn't as bad as I expected, but it was certainly more obvious. A strip of red, somewhat mangled plastic that used to border the passenger side hung down to the ground. I dropped my purse and sat on the asphalt to take a closer look. My glasses fell apart again as I leaned over, so I snatched them away from my face and folded them into my purse. The question at hand -- literally at hand, as I shifted the abused plastic a bit -- was whether or not I could fix my car. The glasses would just have to wait.
Laying down on the ground, I tucked the purse beneath my head and examined the underside of my car more closely. There was a plastic bolt that would have held the piece up, but the piece had cracked at the hole, allowing the bolt to slip out. Could I slip it back in?
The answer was no, I found after I dirtied my hands and made the cracked hole into a broken curve. However, that curve fit excellently around the bolt. The misfit fix held up to my tests (banging on the already battered piece of plastic, grabbing it and shaking, etc.) Therefore, I came to the only conclusion I could, given my broken car and my broken glasses: I need to keep duct tape in my car.
A gas station seemed as likely a place as any to find the tape, so I pulled into one nearby. No such luck though, just Scotch tape. I bought it anyway, plus $20 in gas, and returned to my car. The glasses are now a barely-tolerable fix with the tape. The car went from barely-tolerable to silly-looking,-but-may-hold-together-a-little-better. Until, that is, I get up the nerve to tell Dad and ask what I ought to do.
I keep hand sanitizer and tissues in my car, so I cleaned up my hands the best I could before I left. As I drove away, I realized I really wanted to cry.
Hold it together, I told myself. It's fine. Crying about it won't help anything.
In an effort to "hold it together," I analyzed why exactly I wanted to cry. I didn't just want to cry, I decided. I wanted to hide my face in some good man's neck, and feel his arm around my shoulders, and inwardly lament of how infernally stupid the whole stinking mess was, dang it.
I can't do that, I reasoned. I have better things to do, like get myself home in one piece. There's no guy here anyway, Sara. So suck it up!
But I wondered what the situation would have been if there was a guy around. That's when it call came flooding to me. If there was someone there to have my back, I wouldn't have to drive home if I didn't want to. Or get out and get on the ground and look at my poor car. Or try to navigate a new town all by myself. Or drive myself to get my glasses fixed as they break off my face every few minutes. In short, every disaster of the evening could have been prevented if someone else were around who was willing to look after me a bit.
I'm not saying that I can't manage by myself. Obviously I did just fine given the circumstances. I'm usually really proud of myself for handling situations appropriately. Not this time. I was mournful that I had to handle it at all. I may be an independent woman, but I am also a traditionalist. I love when men take charge, when they make sure I know I'm allowed to be fragile.
I felt fragile today, and I didn't like it. And for the first time in my adult life, "kicking trash" and fixing my fragility myself wasn't the solution I craved. The idea disturbs me because I don't have a lot of options for not taking care of myself. But I think it's a good thing that I'm no longer out to prove that I can take care of myself. I already know I can. I just don't want it to be an unremitting requirement of my life anymore.