I consider myself very independent and have ever since I learned how to make pancakes on my own and talk back to my parents. But, independence was nurtured into me. When I look back I can think of times in my life when my parents, unknowingly, taught me that if I wanted something done I would have to do it myself. This is an example of one of those times.
Adult conversation was a curious world to me when I was nine years old. My parents would use words that I knew but didn't fully understand, like swear words in Spanish, or the word "pantyhose". Since it was clear that my parents, when asked, feigned ignorance about the true meaning of the Spanish profanities they said to each other and about their children, I moved on.
One day, I walked out to the yard where my dad was working on the grass. I politely asked him what pantyhose were to which he replied, "Duh! A hose with a panty."
It was one of the most frustrating things my dad could say. But that was his thing. If he didn't know how to explain something he would split the word or phrase into two parts and repeat them backwards adding "with-a" in the middle of them. He though it was especially hilarious with compound words like this one. He had done this my entire life. A nut with a dough. A screw with a cork. I could go with a on forever. But I won't.
I asked again but this time using a sure-fire technique I had learned from the man himself: raising your voice. "No Dad! What are pantyhose!" I screamed.
He threw his arms up above his head and in an anger and a volume five times stronger than my own he snapped, "I just told you! A hose with a panty!"
Useless. It was all useless! I stormed back into the house and was so flustered that I felt like I had to pee. I still had no idea what pantyhose were and my dad was driving me crazy. That day I decided I was done being aggravated with mean and crazy responses. I knew that if I wanted to know what anything was I would have to find out myself, or ask my best friend Karen because she was a few months older than me and already wore bras and stuff.
That is how I came to be independent.
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