Independence (and dependence)

This year, I chose to stay in my student house over the Easter holidays. This is because when I’m at Home, I can’t focus on my work. There are so many distractions. I live closer to town there, and of course there’s my friends and boyfriend to catch up with. I also have (or rather, my Mam has) two small dogs. I love them with all my heart but I can’t get a single thing done around them. Here they are on the back of the sofa. Tye (on the right) likes to be high up so she can see everything that’s going on around her. Chilly (left) doesn’t care where she is as long as she’s with Tye. It’s very cute.

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Chilly and Tye

Anyway. Back to the point of this post.

I’m a classic introvert with more than a dash of social anxiety. I need a good chunk of alone time occasionally, to recharge and reorganise myself and my thoughts. So these Easter holidays are the perfect chance to relax, and more importantly, get my dissertation finished. Everyone has gone home, leaving me blissfully alone. Just how I like it.

The issue, of course, is what happens when something goes wrong? I’m the kind of person who would suffer an illness far too long before seeing a doctor. I let an internet issue go on for two months because I was too afraid to call our ISP (I’d rather deal with it over twitter). So today, when I turned my bedroom light on and the whole house’s electric went out, I thought, great.

I tried to fix it myself, but nothing worked. I googled it, and nothing helped. I even rang my parents, but they couldn’t fix it from 200 miles away. I’m a pretty handy person usually. I know a passable amount about a lot of things, but electricity isn’t one of them. I don’t like to bother people to fix things for me, and I definitely don’t like asking for help, but as I stood in front of the fuse box, I just knew I was going to have to call the landlord.

At this point, my social anxiety kicked it into overdrive. First of all, I was worried I’d have to explain who I was. What if his SO answered, or his kids? What if he answered, but he didn’t know who I was. What if he answered in Welsh? My Welsh is conversational at best, so I definitely don’t know how to explain that I somehow broke the entire electric system. And then what if he couldn’t come and sort it? What if he was on holiday? What if he was busy? What if I was interrupting his dinner? What if it was such an easy fix that he thinks I’m stupid?

And as usual, it was way less difficult than I thought it would be. He was here within fifteen minutes, and we had it fixed within twenty. He said ‘Hello Kirsty’, when he answered the phone, and he didn’t say anything in Welsh.

(The solution, by the way, was the age old ‘turn it off and turn it back on again’ trick, only with the entire fusebox. The Landlord called an electrician who fixed it over the phone.)

Anyway. The whole ordeal made me think a lot about my extreme desire for independence.  If this situation had happened three or four years ago, when I was 19 or 20, I would have suffered in silence. I would have sat in the dark until either google suggested something that worked, or I figured it out on my own. Does that mean I’m less independent now than I used to be?

I don’t think it does. In fact, I think I’m more independent now, because I was able to take the necessary steps to solve the problem. Sitting alone in the darkness, stubbornly refusing to involve other people would just have shown how dependent on them I really was. Being able to accept that electrical issues are not something I can fix alone, and having the sense to call the landlord shows that I’ve grown up a lot in the last few years.

Of course, I still think that everyone should know how to do the basic ‘living alone’ things. Running your washing machine, cooking a basic meal, clearing your shower drain and changing a lightbulb are things that come to mind. But I think one thing moving away for University has definitely taught me is that ultimately, there’s no sense in struggling alone when you can easily reach out for help.

2 thoughts on “Independence (and dependence)”

    1. Yeah, I know what you mean. It’s really hard for me to admit when I don’t know the answer, and asking for help means doing just that. But I’m getting better at it, I hope. This is what being a high achiever in school did to me haha.

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