*Disclaimer: I’m not saying independent women don’t exist. I’m just admitting that I’m NOT one of them*
Yesterday I text me best friend “I NEED to move” When he asked “why?” I simply replied “I don’t feel safe anymore.” Some Shenanigans went down at my complex in the morning that will probably leave an emotional scar for some time, the thought if it had me nervous to return home, but that’s a different story for a different day. What I wasn’t expecting was to come home last night to NO lights. YUP! The power company was tired of my lapse in memory over the past few months. Paying what I can when I can.
So this morning I made one of the hardest phone calls of my life. I called my grandparents. Fortunately for me my Grandpa answered the phone. He asked “How much?” then “How did you get so far behind?” He cheerfully said “This too shall pass. Let me let you speak to the person in charge of the finances.” I heard him tell my Grandma “Bump’s in trouble.”
The Disdain and disappointment in her voice was SOUL crushing. She said “Next time ask for help sooner. I’ll put the money in your account because I love you. Bye.”
She hung up on me! She didn’t even give me a chance to tell her I can pay her back tomorrow because tomorrow is pay day; just *CLICK* I cried. So angry at myself for needing their help again. For disappointing her. For not having my own parents to turn to in hard times like this. My grandma is probably about as sick of my shit as the power company. And I understand.
A few nights ago I was telling my mom how strange it was for me to hear my aunt say “I’m not obligated to do nothing for my grandkids. I do cause I choose to do.” She sounded so angry. I guess her kids had begun to take her for granted & her grandkids feel entitled to her time and money. Until today I never imagined my Grandma feeling that way about me. As if I was a burden and not her responsibility.
25 years 8 months 2 weeks and 3 days ago when I was born; Buddha was incarcerated. I don’t know when he went in or when he came out, but I do know 3 weeks later he was at my baby shower (only because there’s video evidence) and from then on almost everything he ever gave me was stolen. My mother was 16 and unemployed still living with my grandparents. SO thanks to ill-equipped unemployed teen parents, for 25 years 8 months 2 weeks and 3 days I HAVE been their responsibility.
Which brings me back to today. I live alone. I’m responsible for insuring & maintaining a vehicle that is currently co-titled to my bank. I try to feed myself regularly so I don’t die, but I’m not Independent.
Friends and relatives at home see the freedom of being able to move out of my mother’s home. What they don’t see is the student loan debt I incurred to avoid going back. They see the privacy of not having to live with family or roommates. What they don’t see is the eviction letters that came after 9 months of unemployment, depleting my savings AND tapping into my pension. They don’t see me sitting in the dark on a Wednesday night when all I wanted was to come home and watch Greenleaf. They see me celebrating a new Pinterest recipe win. What they don’t see is me starving and afraid to open my frigerator to find that all the stuff I cooked in an attempt to save money has gone bad because I overlooked one bill for a little too long. They don’t see how embarrassed I was to need my grandparents’ assistance A-GAIN!
The daddy I’m dating offered to help and I declined. I immediately wondered *What if I need help in the future and he doesn’t offer because I’m pretending everything is well right now? Am I being prideful?* I just don’t want to get in the habit of relying on men to save me. Then I realized, He’s just behaving how one should in a partnership. No one who lays beside you should be comfortable with letting you lie alone in the dark when they CAN help you.
I hadn’t seen that much growing up; partnership. I can still FEEL the resentment my mom has for my sister’s father for not helping her maintain her home financially. I can hear echoes of her sharing with me that my Granpa told her it was because she didn’t require him to. Like me, she pretended everything was fine for too long and held it against him that he reaped the benefits of: coming to her home where the power was never turned off; watching football on cable she desperately wanted to disconnect; finding shelter in a home with a mortgage he wasn’t responsible for. And people saw this like they see me and they wanted it, not knowing the struggle it comes with. The embarrassment of needing to call for help when people think you’re fine and they’re expecting you to do better.
I’m not an Independent Woman, I’ve had to ask people for help several times. Today I learned that embarrassment doesn’t last long and pride will kill you if you let it. I asked my neighbor for a flashlight and he gave me a generator. I was able to watch my show, write by lamp; not by flashlight and even charge my phone. I chose a moment of embarrassment because pride would have had me in here in the dark and disconnected from the world.
It Takes a Village to Raise A Child and sometimes It takes A Village to Keep an Adult Afloat. Don’t be afraid to NEED the Village and ALWAYS BE the Village.