One of the things I’ve always prided myself on most, is my independence. Since I first insisted as a little kid – brow furrowed and tongue poking out in concentration – on tying my own shoelaces, I’ve enjoyed managing things *all by myself*.
Independence is ostensibly an awesome thing. Over the years my independence has given me the courage to make all kinds of decisions / mistakes which have made my life ridiculously, supremely rich. But from time to time, it trips me up and I fall splat on my face.
This has primarily occurred in two ways:
- I refuse to ever ask for help in the stoic, idiotic belief that I have to do everything on my own. This belief has caused me unnecessary pain and even led to a period of depression. Since I started reaching out to others for support, my life – and, to my delight, my friendships – has become all the more awesome. Daring to be vulnerable strengthens my relationship with ourselves and others.
- Somewhere around the half-year mark in a relationship, I get scared AF. My love for the other person, and their love for me, somehow unties my double-knotted independence and I freak out, because this is such a central part of my identity.
Truly relying on my partner would feel like skydiving without a parachute. It’s caused me to bolt from relationships, because being alone is so much cleaner. Straightforward. The only person I can let down, or who can break my heart, is me.
Now I find myself in an amazing relationship, and am determined to strike a healthy balance. I will not deny that independent streak, for it makes me the feisty, determined, energetic woman I am. But I will allow myself to rely on my partner. To express my needs and allow him to depend on me too. To be simultaneously independent, and in dependence.