According to the Cambridge Dictionary, independence can be defined in two ways: freedom from being governed or ruled by another country; and the ability to live your life without being helped or influenced by other people (Cambridge). The latter definition better represents how I feel about myself. Other people may say that independence means totally being on your own, or they may say that it’s impossible to be fully independent. But being isolated is not the same as being independent.
As the Cambridge definition says, it’s the ability to live your life as you please. Independence is something that must not be taken for granted. It’s something that a lot of people forget even exists, but when it’s no longer there, you wish it was. I’ve never been an overly affectionate person when it comes to being in a relationship. Independence was my thing.
I was the girl who always worked alone on a school project and never accepted help from anyone else.
From the outside, it may have seemed like I was a loner, or maybe just a girl who thought too highly of herself, but I was just trying to be the best that I could be. Being a girl has its perks, but it also has many obstacles. A popular misconception about being a girl is that we’re physically and mentally weaker than guys. For me, having independence proved all the boys in my class wrong.
Being able to finish by myself and have a higher mark than them showed not only them, but myself that I could do what they did just as well.
My independence almost single-handedly defines who I am, and the moment I lost it, I lost myself. I’ve always been an extremely independent girl, but I haven’t always known how important it was to me. I’ve had a job since I could legally get one. The day I turned 14, I put in an application to the only available job in my town. Ever since then, I’ve been paying for my own things; clothes, knick-knacks, you name it. And not because I was forced to by my parents, but because I wanted to.
Every time I walked into a store and heard the ‘kachiiing’ of the cash register eating up all my money, I gained a sense of accomplishment. It almost felt like the blood inside of my body radiated energy. Like there was a light in my heart that made my whole person shine; and thats how I felt about most things. Being proud of the things that I was able to do on my own, even if they were small, has always been something that I’ve been able to do. It’s what I now love about myself. The moment that I realized that I was no longer independent started off as any other normal day. I was scrolling through my feed on Instagram when I hear the chilling, but familiar male voices of my boyfriend and his dad. As usual, they were in an argument. Any other time, after they were done, I would attempt to console him as any girlfriend would.
This time though, as I was trying to tell him that everything will be alright, he pushed me away and told me to shut up. before; I would have shaken it off, and go about living my life; but something about those two words really stung. I had been in other situations like that before, but I had always stood up for myself and refused to be treated disrespectfully. Looking back now, I realize that I was scared of him. It felt like a million wasps had forced their way into my body and stung my heart. I had never felt like that in my life and I never wanted to again; but soon after that, it was a regular occurrence. We got into fights daily but it didn’t bother me because I knew that we would just forget about it in a few hours. I became clingy, and I constantly needed to talk to him or an anxious feeling would develop in my gut. I felt like an overbearing mother with all my constant texting, and calling, but I couldn’t help it because I needed his attention 110% of the time.
So for another four months, we went on like that and I didn’t think anything wrong of it. I took my independence for granted, and that is not something I’ll do ever again. I went from being a proud, strong young woman to needing someone to make decisions for me. I stopped going out with friends and I stopped caring about anything other than my relationship. It took one of my good friends, that also happened to be a friend of his, telling me to snap out of it to even realize what was happening. From my point of view, he had betrayed me. He tried to ruin my relationship. I hadn’t had any proof of this before and all of a sudden he just sprung all this information on me. I didn’t talk to him for a long time, but things related to what he said started popping up everywhere I looked.
Soon, I could see all the individual instances that proved what he said may not have been a lie. I started noticing that I needed to call and text way more than I should have. Simple decisions like if I should go to Regina that day were determined by him. If he showed any disinterest in what I wanted to do, I wouldn’t do it. My life just became school, work, and driving an hour to see him. I was finally starting to realize that I had lost myself and that I had to do something about it. In recent days, I’ve gone back to my old ways. My values have become more clear to me and I know what I want. I do things for myself and don’t even think twice about if someone else would judge me on it. My family has become more important to me again and I now know how important it is for me to be independent. Being bsle to live my life as I please has genuinely made me a happier person. I never want to go back to being someone who solely depends on someone else to validate my life. I can proudly say that my life is in my own hands again. Independence has a rigid definition according to the dictionary, but the way you interpret that definition can determine the way you go about your life.