by JAMIE NULL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
In college, the pop group “Destiny’s Child” had a hit song called “Independent Women.” My girlfriends and I would sing it all the time. We were young and carefree at the time. The song still runs through my head occasionally. A good example? The afternoon when I decided to defy winter and plow through a foot of snow. The song faded when I approached our driveway. I hesitated for a few moments. The foot of snow in the driveway — that I had plowed through to get out a few hours earlier — looked taller, almost sinister. I flipped the turn signal and cautiously turned into the driveway. I didn’t make it. Really, it wasn’t even close. I hit the gas pedal. Tires spun like mad, leaving nothing but deep, slick grooves in the snow. I was stuck and halfway in the road. I got out of the car, thankfully to be wearing tall boots. I did a version of high knees to the front porch. I thought about just knocking on the door and asking the husband to dig the Jeep out. Then I saw the shovel. Maybe I could shovel around the tires and get the Jeep back on the road. We could worry about the driveway later.
I can be fiercely independent sometimes. This was one of those moments. So without asking for help, I turned away from the door and began shoveling like a teenager wanting some extra cash. I cleared away the snow from the back tires and hopped in the Jeep. I didn’t move at all. Second try, I thought. This time, I cleared the snow away from the front tires. I spent about 15 minutes shoveling the snow, watching cars pass and honk at my efforts. I climbed back in the driver’s seat and hit the gas. Nothing. The tires spun loudly. I sat behind the wheel pondering my next move. I could ask for help or shovel until dinnertime. My toes were cold inside my boots. I wiped my hair off my face; it was full of snow, of course. When I looked up, the husband stood there laughing and pulling on his boots. He took one look and said, “You grounded the Jeep.” Together we drug the snow out from under the vehicle. Then with him behind the wheel, the Jeep slid back out into the street.
My independent streak is like the bad devil on my shoulder. Luckily, my husband knows this already. So does the rest of my family. It is good to be independent, most of the time. As for me, I have come to realize asking for help is just as rewarding as the rush of independence. Sometimes we need to ask for a helping hand, especially in the winter. Pride confuses rational thinking. My momentary lack of judgment didn’t hurt the Jeep. Nor did it cause any winter-related injuries. I learned a few lessons that day. First of all, one must wear thicker socks during the winter. Secondly, beware of mountains of snow and an awkward-shaped driveway. Thirdly, don’t be afraid to admit defeat and ask the husband for help. I am guilty of trying to prove I am superwoman. From thumb wrestling to shoveling out a car, I need a reminder of my limitations. I never win at thumb wrestling. Neither can I shovel out a grounded Jeep on a foot of snow. It is OK to ask for help and to cry “Uncle” every now and then. It doesn’t mean I am going to stop singing “Independent Women” or forget about girl power in the newsroom. Sometimes I wonder if the idea of girl power hasn’t clouded my judgment. We all have limitations — men and women. Yet the continuous drive to be fearless at all costs is too risky. From now on, I am going to be a smart independent woman. Now who sings a song about that?
Jamie Null is the Lifestyle editor of the Daily Telegraph. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter @BDTParsell.