Thankfully Independent

Independence is important.

I mean, of course it is, isn’t it? All of the self-help guides I’ve ever seen talk about independence as the “long-term” goal, whatever that means. Really, it’s not as if I need another person to tell me what to do. Aren’t we socialized enough, at least in this country, to do whatever we want, be whoever we want, and do whatever we have to do to make all that happen?

At least, that’s what it seems like to me. Who knows if there’s anything of value in those self-help guides. I’m not sure what they have to back up what they’re saying. They’re probably full of shit.

But let me tell you why, to me, independence really IS important, and not some oh la dee da kind of hippie/patriotic bullshit. Oh, and yea, be prepared for a little bit (a lot) of me talking about myself, because this is my damn story.

My life is complicated. Though, perhaps, it might not seem that way to the average viewer; when I’m at school or around friends, I don’t often let off that I have what amounts to a double life. I’m myself around friends, why should they have any reason to suspect? I usually come across as a happy (anxious), (hopefully) smart, and overly talkative person (sorry). I’ll tell people about who I am all the time: I’m not straight or cis, and I have more majors and minors than you’d care to hear about. Again, (sorry).

Don’t you like what I did there? I thought it was doubly cool. ;) 

I’m (sorry) I’m so annoying.

Some of you Her Campus readers might have an inkling as to what the other side of my life looks like. Let me paint a clearer picture.

As I’m writing this, I’ve got the memories of Thanksgiving fresh in my head. My family in Jersey/Eastern PA are always great to visit. I’ll have a laugh, a drink, and even an intelligent discussion about some political thing or another. Now, of course, none of them agree with me. But here, at least they care what I have to say.

Sometimes, anyway. None of them know that I’m gay, yet.

I had a “second Thanksgiving” at my mom’s house. Can I hear a second breakfast, anyone? I mean, come on, of course I had to reference Lord of the Rings. But hey, I guess that kid at the dining hall wasn’t kidding when he told me like I looked like I “ate all the Twinkies.”

Fact check: I have consumed ONE Twinkie in my entire life, and it sucked. Majorly. Fuck you, Mr. Waffles.

I hope y’all get at least one of those references. (sorry)

Anyway, my mom doesn’t know I’m gay, either. If she does, she definitely doesn’t want to.

Notice how I don’t even get a chance to talk about my gender identity; there’s no room for that in any of their worlds.

Now, really: anyway.

(sorry)

Independence.

Yea, that thing. It’s important.

Whatever.

No, not whatever.

(A ha!) Here’s where I actually lay on the wizened advice from a 21 almost 22-year-old who might not have a single clue what the fuck he’s talking about. Who am I kidding, this might be shitty advice, but it’s my story, and it’s advice that, for me, works out.

Independence is important. Why? Because it’s the key to fucking everything. Independence = control. No matter what, having control of your life makes you independent. Control your own life and you’ll control how other people see you; you’ll control your own narrative.

All the while I was at Thanksgiving, the only thing I could think about was the fact that I was going to be living in my own apartment in a few days. I can’t even begin to tell you how ecstatic I am about that. At home, and with family, I’ve felt as if I’ve been living in a glass box made out of the stuff cops use for interrogation rooms. I let my family see the parts of me that are like them, but the parts of me that are different are the ones hidden in their own reflections.

I love my family, dearly. But I’m not ready to trust them, because I know they aren’t ready to hear what I really have to say.

But independence will help me be ready to trust them. It will help them understand that I am different, but equally valid. In the freedom of living on my own, I will gain a recognition of my personhood, my true personhood, that I’ve never been given. Family always knows everything about you, warts and all. But when I am free of them; when I am living as an independent person, I’ll be able to show them who I am without all of the baggage. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for.

My cat and I are moving into the apartment within the next few hours. Whether I’ll feel different right away, or if it’ll take until I graduate, this school or the next, I don’t know. But it feels like a start. It feels like a way out of the quagmire of my existence and into the freedom of my independence. It’s a step forward, and a step that will let me break through the false mirror.

But for now, I guess I’ll have to wait and see. 

Here's a picture of Peach for your enjoyment. If nothing else, at least you'll have gotten a cute cat pic from my story.