This post is meant to be a quick partner piece to Amy Sequenzia's excellent questioning and reframing of independence. I will get back to answering questions very, very soon, because that is important, and I want to do it well (when I am altogether), but my spoons seem to have all been in the dishwasher of late. Sorry about that. So.
I am not independent and I am good with that, now. There have been times in my life when I have succumbed to society's peer pressure that what makes a human a human is to have independence. These have been the worst times in my life. Being homeless, sucky. You don't know when to eat or drink or sleep because of what time is it and that makes you super sick? Non awesome. You finally get around to matter-of-factly telling the doctor your pain is almost intolerable (when you have a rather high pain threshold to start with) and you didn't know that was supposed to be accompanied by a swan song hyper Shakespearean death scene to get noticed so therefore you basically didn't say anything as far as the doctor is concerned, suckier. You shrug that off because, hey, you need to be independent--and it turns out that decision almost kills you because your tumors are going to make your innards septic or something...what is the equivalent of "priceless" on the suckiness spectrum?
I am a human being, not a human doing, not a human island. I am interdependent. So I need help with some things, OK maybe a lot of things. Also, I am helpful and worthwhile to others in some other things, because that is the real meaning of life. Even if I just make someone smile to look at me, that's me being of worth to that person. We as a society really need to get off this "Everyone Needs to Be Totally Independent or The World Will Crash and Lives Will Be Ruined" kick, now, because it is hurting people like me, like the kid I was, and it is hurting people like my parents when they were younger, twisting their hands and guts with fear of what would become of me. I think it is likely hurting the person reading this. I send you love.
Here is what has become of me. When I finally stopped using all my spoons trying to be what I considered "independent," and let myself be part of the world, and let myself ask for help, I got my life back, I got to be who I am. I am happy and successful. Why should I have to be able to do everything all by myself? Who does that? It is only disabled people who are really supposed to be that much of a super hero. When stars or wealthy people have helpers, I guess that's randomly OK. Nobody thinks that they are not "independent" and hence not really people.
So I am a happy, successful, interdependent person who cannot survive without a little help (OK maybe a lot) from my friends. And family. You know who you are. Thank you so much. :)
This message goes out there to all the youth who are knocking themselves out trying to make it look easy, not asking for help, floundering, and to all the parents who can't sleep wondering what will happen after... There's friends and more found-family. The world of humans is a tribal world. Independence is not the key. Healthy, self-determined and well-chosen interdependence is where it's at. It took me so long to learn that I want to announce it before I forget and it takes everyone else so many long hard painful times.
Thanks for listening.
Next, back to your questions, like I'm supposed to. Thanks for your patience.