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100 Stories // * 4. Defining dependency.
Lately I find myself trying to be independent, trying to come across as independent, someone that's completely self-sufficient and who can handle everything alone. And that's not a lie. I am independent and self-sufficient. I'm 24, I've lived alone in two cities and I've successfully held down jobs. All very topical and surface level. It often looks as though I'm adulting correctly. Other times you'll find me hugging a bowl of pasta and watching anime.

But I realise more and more that it's okay - more than okay in fact - to be dependent on others. My Mama, for instance, I like to depend on my mother once in a while. So often in today's society and culture where everybody grows up far too quickly, we condemn and push aside our parents' love for us because we think we know better, we're grown-ups, we'll say, we want things our way. It must be difficult to become a parent and want to both see your child grow up well and experience everything, but see them struggle for independence that they didn't know they didn't need. I was that girl once. I sneaked into her room to straighten my already straight hair. I asked my siblings to cover for me when I didn't make it home for 6pm when playing out. I'd huff and sigh on the phone when she checked in with me at University because I just wanted to pre-drink. I'd walk (well, more like sprint and shuffle-run!) home alone when she told me not to. I asked her to drop me off at my office around the corner once when my car was being repaired. But it's good to depend on your Mama, she's one of the only ones you can depend on. And whilst I was home for Christmas, she liked being depended on.

Within reason, it's okay to depend on your friends too. Never feel like you should take on burdens and hardships alone. You don't have to tightly seal your secrets and problems away: a problem shared is a problem halved, I think that's what they say. In trying to be fiercely independent and course through life alone, you might only end up pushing others away. I know I'm guilty of this too… I shy away from sharing things because I don't want my burden to become another's burden too, but my best friends are always quietly there at my elbow (not literally, I mean, I'm so small I'm technically at their elbow), tugging at me to let them in. It's nice to be able to depend on somebody and trust their intuition, their knowledge and their opinion.

That treacherous line between 'needing' someone for dependence and 'having' someone for dependence… I find myself forcing myself to be independent at other times, even when I feel like I physically can't be. You see, living almost 6000 miles - and thus an increasingly frustrating 8-hour time difference - away from the ones that you can depend on forces you to go it alone. Where once I could depend on my brother to make me delicious lunches and dinners, now I rustle up my own. Where once I could depend on Mama to give me advice when I had a stomachache or of which laundry brand to buy, now I handle that myself. Where once I could depend on my best friends intuitively knowing to come round with BN's and wine, now I muscle through alone. You learn these things every day, time and time again.

How do you define independence? What role does it play in your world?

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