Miss Independent

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I told my sister.

I still hadn't made up my mind as to whether I should or not by the time I arrived there, but my crocodile eyes were uncooperative. Hours after the few (okay, many) tears I had shed, they were still virtually swollen shut. And I know from experience that trying to convince my sister that IamdoingjustsplendidlythanksandwhatredeyeswhatareyouTALKINGabout while trying to peer at her through telltale slits would be as futile as trying to look like a movie star whenever I cry. You know what I'm talking about. You see it in any drama and even in a few romantic comedies. When they zoom in on the actress's flawless makeup, the tears clinging to her impossibly long (and still perfectly mascara'd), quivering lashes like glittering jewels, making the leading man's heart melt and causing him to lean in, gently brushing her tear-streaked cheeks with his lips or fingers.

Why oh why do I look so horrid not only during crying jags, but for almost DAYS afterwards? Even waterproof mascara can't survive the destruction of all make-up during my melodramatic sobbing spells. You know how television news always capture women in war torn countries? Women who have just lost their entire families in senseless violence and who are wailing loudly, making otherwordly, primal sounds while desperately tearing their hair out and clawing at their clothes?

They have nothing on me when I weep. When I get going, I surpass even that which Oprah Winfrey refers to as "the ugly cry".

So before she could even ASK me what was wrong, I simply blurted out the whole story. And started crying again in the retelling. (Hey, I laugh at my own jokes, so I'm almost compelled to cry during the telling of my own sob stories in order to keep things fair and balanced.)

Her immediate reaction was laughter. Not at me, bless her. (She doesn't laugh at my jokes, so laughing at my sob stories is probably also just part of keeping the equilibrium.) But because the entire situation was so preposterous.

Then she asked: "Why didn't you tell me last night, when she was still here?" (Aww, I think this is the grown-up version of her wanting to beat up my playground bullies!)

THEN she told me that the girl was 1.) Drunk anyway.

"Which only makes people say what they really think!" I wailed.

And then she told me that the girl was 2.) Not... Well, let's just say that she wasn't quite as forthcoming to me about her own life and about what she is doing.

(Okay, here it is. I can TOTALLY not keep it to myself. That girl? The one who has told me that I should really become a bit more independent!? SHE IS TOTALLY NOT EVEN STUDYING RIGHT NOW! Hasn't done ANYTHING, in fact, for YEARS! Which is why she is putting pressure on my brother-in-law's friend to propose to her, because apparently her extremely rich daddy is now finally getting impatient with his 30-year old daughter's lack of drive and would really like her to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE ALREADY! And hey, what better way to do that than to get a husband, right?)

So yes, I'm over it. Okay, my over-it-ness didn't, admittedly, happen immediately. When I finally stopped crying, I got angry at her audacity. Then I thought of all the things I SHOULD have said to her:

"Okay, so how about I remove all my vital internal organs. After performing the DIY (of COURSE!) surgery on myself, I would simply continue living. WOULD THAT BE INDEPENDENT ENOUGH FOR YOU?"

(And that is really all I came up with to say. My sister said I should have said: "Wow! Thank you for such stellar life advice! Especially since you are such a fine example of independence yourself! So I really value your unasked for counsel!")

Then my dear sis reminded me how I didn't even ask for the car.

And then we had coffee and cake and lived happily ever after...

Seriously though, I do know why her words stung me so much and so deeply. During my last years in the States, as I slowly sunk into the depths of a bleak, all-consuming depression, one of the first and most important things I lost a grasp on was my independence. And I've had to work HARD to get it back. (Still working on it, in fact, every single day.) And I will be the FIRST to admit that I would never, ever, ever have been able to do it without my family's help.

I love them.   


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6 Comments

Deeleea Author Profile Page said:

You go girl. You've come such a LONG way from those days! I'm dead proud, really I am!

Amy said:

Yay, welcome back Red!

Embrace the ugly crying :-) I do and it means LOADS of sympathy!

Dishy said:

Right Miss Independent... WE are depending on you so keep it coming. Ugly cries in front of the mirror and all!

ekke said:

bullies wat ander mense afkraak wys net hul eie onsekerheid. en JA , jy het die wonderlikste familie. jammer ek sien jul so min !!! sit nog fotos van Ava op fboook. Ssseblief.
ek weer in angola, tot in Julie, dan geen verskonings nie, kom kuier in die woodstock in. buurvrou lee vra ook hoe gaan dit met jou. baie liefde, m xxx

Marco said:

Independence...so overrated anyway :-) Besides, many will tell you, the sign of maturity is not independence but interdependence :-)

Maybe her frustration is that you have remained true to yourself and are still pursuing your passion and your dream. Hats off for that. Not many people have the staying power and tenacity you have ;-)

SilverSabre said:

Hey Red

Ignore her, she was displaying a typical inferiority complex.

SS

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is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
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comments
  • SilverSabre : Hey Red Ignore her, she was displaying a typical inferiority complex. SS... [go]
  • Marco : Independence...so overrated anyway :-) Besides, many will tell you, the sign of maturity is not inde... [go]
  • ekke : bullies wat ander mense afkraak wys net hul eie onsekerheid. en JA , jy het die wonderlikste famili... [go]
  • Dishy : Right Miss Independent... WE are depending on you so keep it coming. Ugly cries in front of the mirr... [go]
  • Amy : Yay, welcome back Red! Embrace the ugly crying :-) I do and it means LOADS of sympathy!... [go]
  • Deeleea Author Profile Page: You go girl. You've come such a LONG way from those days! I'm dead proud, really I am!... [go]
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