I took this picture a few weeks ago. There’s a lot going on in the pic but basically it’s a few of us helping a mutual friend celebrate her birthday. The camera is not a professional item and the cameraman more so. I only knew 5 people out of 15 that were there. But that day I saw my friend pull together some of us to celebrate a special occasion.
A sometimes difficult question
But what is independence, really? Have I lost it? How hard those questions are to answer depends where you’re coming from. In those moments where I’m honest with myself, the answer has always been that I’ve needed someone to help me be.
Over at Dictionary.com, the definition of independence is
freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.
A baby is born into the care of its parents who both support and influence. As the child grows into a teen and then a young adult, he or she begins making more decisions but firmly in the context of the support and boundaries given by parents, friends, colleagues and leaders. Friends come into the picture. A husband or wife and possibly children. Then it’s over. When then is a person completely independent?
The army I march with when I’m against the world
Monde, Kuda, Ntombi, Yaz, Bless, Larry. That’s a handful but I can rattle off the names in my current support structure from memory. There are some I go to when I’m down, a few who advise me when I’m feeling pressure at work, some who I reminisce with when I’m homesick and some who I give a call to just share my happiness. What I’m increasingly finding is that even though having someone to share with may not change the facts of life, it makes those facts more bearable, even more pleasant, as I said in My slice of pie.
And I am just a sample of one, but everyone I know has people in their lives that they go to so I assume it’s that way for everyone. Where they don’t, it shows in how stressed they are. I wonder then if I’ve ever had this independence I’ve been fighting to keep.