Learning to Find (and Define) Independence

Sometimes I love Tumblr. A few months ago, someone I follow reblogged an inquiry asking if there were other women of color who had sacrificed the safety and security of family in order to find independence. I actually responded because this was exactly the situation for me just two short years ago. The original inquirer was happy to find someone who understood what she was going through as a woman of color who separated herself from family in order to be independent.

I think a lot about what true independence means these days. Being on my own was the start. However, it gets fuzzy from there. In a way, I can probably be considered independent not just because of my mindset but because I am living on my own and making my own way in life. I am working toward making a living off my writing, which I feel would be the true pinnacle of my quest for independence.

The problem with me is trying to figure out how far I need to take this concept of independence. I’ve written before about how hard it is to ask for help when needed, but I wonder how much this is tied to an idea of “true” independence. No matter how many times we are told we can’t make it alone, it’s still difficult to turn to others in time of need. For me this is mostly because I know that there are no members of my family in any position to offer anything other than moral support and I don’t have friends that go way back to elementary school days.

Also, with me, part of my independence was making sure I had the freedom to be myself. It took me a long time to be comfortable with myself and not worry about how I came across to others because at the end of the day I’m the one who has to live with me. I try not to let anyone else who would never dream of extending a helping hand if they saw that my hair was on fire have any influence on how I live my life.

Yet, I long for security like most people: financial and emotional security. I would love to be in a position in my life in which I am not worried about whether or not the rent will makes it way to me by the end of the month or if I’ll have to skip grocery shopping. I would love to be secure enough with others knowing that they are sincere with intentions toward me and accept me for who I am and nothing else.

Independence is an abstract concept and means different things for different people. I am also finding that for me it is also fluid. It depends upon my current situation and may shift in its meaning when my life circumstances changes. All I know is that it is still a goal in my life and I’ll keep looking for it.