Saturday, April 01, 2006


People like to tell me that my brother's second eldest daughter is "just like me".

They tell me this because at all family gatherings, most of the time she just kind of wanders around of her own volition, following any and every urge. This would be in opposition to accepting attention from any of the many adoring family members or deciding to play with anyone else. Basically they see her, at her very young age, of being very independent minded - thus taking after her aunt rockstar.

Really my sense of liberty always came naturally. Like breathing. Or drinking alcohol.

I can remember being in junior high refusing to let my parents drive me the mile to any of my softball practices - why have them do that when I could get there by my own steam on bike? Not to mention, I didn't have to worry about any one waiting for me or me waiting for anyone else.

When at seventeen I had my appendix out I remember shoo-ing my mom home from the hospital - why sit around in an uncomfortable chair when all I was going to do was sleep and watch TV? I was fine, nurses were all around! To my mother I insisted, "Really, there is no need for you to stay - go home!"

Even as a small child, I remember my mom offering to walk me to my first day of kindergarten and me thinking - why? I know how to get there, what is the point? (Admittedly I did end up crying that first day, but only because everyone else did and for some reason at that age crying is contagious.)

In high school I wore my independence as a drama club member badge of honor. Being one of the freaks and geeks was fine by me. It wasn't until college that I began to realize how loud the beat of my different drum is. How hard it is to ignore, and even more importantly, how much I want to follow it.

What strikes me as funny is that where in my youth this was beneficial, as I get older it becomes more disadvantageous. At some point I transitioned to being fiercely independent to being prideful. And too much pride is a bad thing, as we all know.

How really are independence and pride different?

Independence is defined as "Free from the influence, guidance, or control of another or others; self-reliant"

Pride is defined as "A sense of one's own proper dignity or value"

I ask you, how can you be true to yourself without valuing your own sense of direction the most?

As with everything in life, I suppose the key is that anything can be bad for you in excess. It may not be so much that the sense of free will is diminished, but that you are willing to listen to and be influenced by someone else's drum. That by letting someone walk you to your first day of kindergarten you are not losing independence, you are allowing someone else listen to your beat.

Just so you know, mine sounds kind of like ska.

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