Independence Now and Never

Thursday, February 17, 2011 | 1 Comment(s)

Seem likes independence and democracy are all the rage right now.  Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain.  Exciting times.  if democracy is the new herpes, and becomes rampant in 88% of the world population, we could see a contagion that could truly change the world, or at the very least the middle east region, as we know it.  there is always a sense of wonder for me when i realize i am living history.  Granted, I prefer to experience the history in the comfort of my own home (as opposed to when i was living in nyc for 9-11) -- but in both cases there was/is a wonderment as i watch the world alter its course during my lifetime.

so that's one kind of independence, but, i think the more popular usage of the word usually fits this kind of context, "I just need some space.  Some room to be me.  I need to be independent for awhile.  Stand on my own two feet."  Sound familiar.  Nah, me neither.

Here's what i have to say about personal independence.  It's a totally farce.  A joke.  An impossible dream (that would really be a nightmare).  The quicker one loses the concept that they can survive life alone, the better life can get.  We are hard wired social entities.  And while some people certainly enjoy more 'alone time' than others, in the end we all need bonds.

Let me be clear.  This is not me saying that people should be utterly dependent on each other.  And i know that, especially in the context of romantic relationships, this 'stickiness' can have negative ramifications.  I'm not saying to give up your identity to others.  I'm saying that part of our identity is those others.  And that life is simply too brutal to face alone.

I've got, especially compared to the world's average, a wonderful life.  I have no essential needs that have gone unmet, and i have the luxury of stressing about things like wedding lists and if i am crating my puppy too long.  But recently, things have played out that a number of tragic and semi-or-potentially-tragic events transpired in close proximity to each other.  Some people died, other scared for their lives.  i found myself not just sending love via facebook message or email, saying, "thinking of you."  But rather, i found myself thinking about these people constantly throughout my days.  Hoping for them.  Hoping recovery.  hoping condolences. hoping strength.  And come weeks end, i was totally drained.

Luckily, my drain-ed-ness coincided with a big Saturday brunch planned for old friends who were back in town for the weekend.  There was about 10 of us.  A somewhat eclectic crew; laughing and laughing harder, and telling stories, and giving cooking tips, and making potential future plans, and more laughing, and some scrabble playing, a few French presses, pork-belly tacos, and even a little breakfast beer.  I had a bit too much coffee.  Maybe i laughed a little more than the others.  One of my friends mentioned that it was like i was absorbing the energy from people (was she saying i am draining as a friend? lets pretend 'no').  I think she was right.  i think i was using the good time had with friends to recharge my love meter.  like a video game power up.

this is obviously a very small example of my point.  my point that we exist together and function better that way.  Most of the people who end up saying "i just need to be independent for awhile" must have supportive parents.  They must, in order to create a mindset in their kids that they could possibly function alone in this world.  Irony huh, ain't it great.

And so i encourage you to lean.  lean on each other.  Be not strong enough to go through it alone and realize that you are not alone in that feeling.  And remember that those people that you are so inclined to lean on are your family.  They are your indispensable resource.

During my undergrad college orientation, all of the frosh make a circle, and we do a lap-sit.  A few hundred of us form a tight tight circle, front to back, and on the count of three, we all sit down.  The person behind us becomes a lap for our bottoms, while our lap becomes a chair for the person in front.  And in this fashion, 600 people can sit together without needing a chair (or getting their butts dirty on the ground).  At the time, i thought that this was just a great chance to have contact with college girls for the first(ish) time.  But now i see that the message was much deeper.  It told us to say connected.  that we were the one's who would, quite literally, be there for each other for the next 4 years.  And that that, in and of itself, was a great resource to be treasured.

I went to the funeral for my best friend's (we'll call him C)  gf's (we'll call her P)  brother.  Both my friend and his gf went to school with me, and i adore them both.  At the funeral, i couldn't help but see the familiar faces in the audience.  Faces I knew as P's college peeps.  I was to C what they were to P.  We were all there, supporting.  Offering our laps to our friends who were hurting.  We were taking the lessons we learned at orientation and applying them to our orientation towards life, love, and friendship.

And so this blog is for you.  Mel, adam, C, P, the dicap's, milo, chaya, ari.  all of you.  I'm sending my love and i'm thinking of you.  fo reals.   and, if necessary, i can plan another brunch for this weekend, cause i'm always available for family.

1 comment: