Independence is defined as freedom of control or influence of another or others. And freedom? Unfettered, unrestricted, unconfined. The power to act or speak or think without externally imposed constraints. There are many things in my life that I have decided to free myself from. Most importantly I have freed myself from undue guilt. I no longer feel guilty eating ice cream at 10pm (yes, that recently happened. Like, less than two hours ago.) It is also difficult for me to ask for help with tasks that I consider my duty to fulfill. So, I have decided to be less guilty when seeking help with watching the kidlets, especially if I am doing something personal. One should not have to feel guilty about having productive time (like going for a longer run) In a sense, I am working towards being independent and free from unjustified views or thoughts of others.
The summer of my 13th year was full of learning experiences for me. One particularily sunny summer day my best friend Nancy and I went *alone* to the zoo. It was a big deal to do this on our own. We had a lovely day acting like teenagers and walking all over that zoo in our sandals and miniskirts. That night my family ate on the deck and we had the early season corn on the cob. My parents went to bed early and I stayed up just a bit longer to watch some pageant on TV. I hated being up alone so I made sure to go to bed before my brother. I vividly remember telling myself to get up from bed to shut my room door, becuase we were always taught in school to shut doors in case of a fire. That was very rare for me to have a shut door, but I had no qualms that night. Sleeping was difficult, as I kept staring at that door but I did not get back up to crack it. Finally I fell asleep. Suddenly I was awakened by commotion and I became hot and prickly and my throat felt tight. My parents were urgently waking us up because of a fire. It was scary to run down that hallway, but my dad told us to go out the front door and across the street. As I ran out, I could hear loud popping in the garage. The entire contents were crackling and shattering. We could not see anything but smoke from the roof, but man was it loud. My mom kept going back in the house and I was so mad at her because even I knew to never re-enter for personal items. Our neighbor across the street had been up, and saw smoke and flames on our garage from his bedroom window. He called us just as my dad smelled smoke through his open window. To make a long story short, we watched the fire dept. chop our garage down and douse huge vertical flames. Mind you, there were two cars in that garage that I was certain would blow up the entire neighborhood. Rumor has it that there was also a fiberglass canoe filled with some plants that fortunately did not emit it's unique smell and land my dad in jail. (as a side note, he was housing them for someone else) My mom had rescued the $400 cash in the Kitchen Queen for our pending Disneyland trip that was slated for the following week.
We spent at least three days in Downtown Portland eating at VQ, the Metro, and other fun and yummy places and made our trip to Disneyland.
For a really long time I was creeped out about my premonition to shut my room door. I did not go to the zoo the rest of the summer and everytime there was a pageant on TV I could not bring myself to watch it. I tossed the light blue and white cotton nightgown I wore that night. Our fire was the week after the fourth of July which only prolongs my agony regarding fireworks, roofs, and random acts of ESP. Although I am not free from my fears of fire, I am working on it.