A feminist decision
I’m 31, but in many respects I’m still a big baby. I cry when I get tired, I throw a tantrum when I don’t get my way and I get nervous about doing things on my own.
It’s that last point that recently came up in conversation with my mother. A little background -- summer offers rare opportunities in the great white north. Namely, the ability to go outside and do things without wearing seven layers or putting chains on your tires.
Therefore, now that summer has arrived I want to go out and do things, to venture away from my comfy home (not too far) and experience something new -- get out in nature, visit someplace I’ve never been, etc.
One of my destinations this summer is a place I went as a kid that’s about an hour-and-a-half from my house -- Ausable Chasm, just inside the Adirondack Park. Also in the town of Ausable is an Underground Railroad Museum that celebrates my area’s abolitionist heritage.
Besides the aforementioned reasons, I also want to take this little trip because I don’t get out much anymore since I’ve started to work from home. Little excursions like this one need to happen -- I’ll get stir crazy if I don’t. Plus, a little change of scenery is good for the creative juices.
My mom doesn’t want me to go. "You can’t go by yourself!" she warned, begging me to wait for a companion to go with me and make sure I’m not kidnapped/lost forever/robbed/assaulted. The problem? I don’t have many people to go with. My family usually has plans, my husband works six days a week, and my (limited) friends have plans, too. While I wait for schedules to line up so I can go with a chaperone, the summer will quickly be over.
In argument, I pointed out an obvious fact: I’m 31. I’ve been out of diapers a long time and stopped playing with Barbies about two decades ago. I’m married, can drive, have a sensible health insurance plan, and have managed to make plenty of other pretty grownup decisions.
I totally understand, though. If my mom lives to 110 and me to 80, I’ll still be her baby. Plus, I’m known for committing various flubs and shenanigans -- getting lost in a familiar neighborhood, backing up into another car in my driveway -- so I understand the nervousness my mother feels about unleashing me into the world.
But when I was 21, I went all the way to Paris on a college field trip with a bunch of strangers -- all by myself. I don’t know what possessed me to do it or how I survived, but I did. I think I can drive 78 miles. I have GPS.
This is also a matter of independence. This is 2014, damnit, and though I’m female and a little ditzy, I think I am within my rights and abilities to take myself on a trip with only me, myself and I for company. This is a feminist decision -- I am exercising my rights as a strong, autonomous woman.
It would be more impressive if I was going on a solo trip to India, but small steps. I don’t want to kill my mother.
JH Mae is a Banner columnist.
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