Not to toot my own horn but I never felt like I was “raised” the same as my peers. I don’t mean I didn’t have a childhood because I did. A pretty good one at that. But when it came to my pre-teen and teen years, there wasn’t much babying going on. I was taught how to wash, dry, soak, and fold my own laundry by thirteen, I had mini responsibilities around the house and because my mom worked overnight shifts, there were certain things that I had to do on my own without having an adult to tell me to do so or helping through. I was always more mature than my peers (still am) and didn’t do, nor was I interested in, the thrilling, trouble-makey things that everyone else was doing. For instance, smoking, cutting school, sneaking out, staying out late, etc. Okay, I admit, I did stay out late a few times but my parents always knew where I was and honestly, by midnight I was always antsy to go home. I didn’t even wanna be out late.
I’d like to think my independence is something that my mother taught me through example. She is such a strong and independent woman that she raised me subconsciously to be the same. My mother is the type to wait for no wo/man. If she wants something done enough—no matter how time-consuming, heavy, difficult, near or far it was—she would get it done. It wasn’t until I moved out that I was surprised at how instinctually I became a mini version of my mom.
My definition of independence is being able to do for yourself when necessary or when not necessary. It is, especially, the freedom to make your own decisions and not be swayed or controlled by the opinions or actions of others whether they are an authoritative figure in your life or not. Do I believe someone can me fully independent? Yes and no. I believe that everyone has a support system or some kind of outside influence that has an effect on the things they do but ultimately, a decision should that of the person’s.
So going back to earlier when I mentioned I didn’t do much thrilling or trouble-making things that my peers were into. I attribute this to my independence. All of my friends know (or should know) that I do not give into peer pressure. Ever. As a matter of fact, the more someone wants me to do or try something, the less likely I am to actually do it. “I know you don’t do what you don’t want to do”, my mom and dad would always tell me. They’re right. It may be to a fault but I am proud of being the independent person that I am in that sense. I’ve been around young adults my age that still feel they run things past their parents before going through with it or are easily swayed by what everyone else is doing. Meanwhile, when I was as young as 16, I was making decisions on my own and briefing my parents on them. Small decision, but decisions nonetheless. Practice makes perfect, okay?
The older I get, the more I realize that this independent trait is spilling out of just a mental thing, but everywhere else. I’m learning to do things without the need of others. My goal is to always know how. I don’t ever want to be in a situation where I don’t know how and that’s what drives my love for learning. But that’s another story for another day. From small things like taking out the trash or little handy household projects to bigger things, I want to be able to know how to do for myself. Always. Keywords “know how”. Which means I may not always want to do it, but I want to be able to “can” do it. Haha. I know people who are the opposite of that. So long as there is someone to complete a certain task for them, they won’t ever learn to do it themselves. I think that is so limiting. I wouldn’t even feel right asking someone to do something for me more than thrice. I’d want to learn to do it myself. I guess that’s just independent me.
While this may have been a bit confusing, I hope you can get the gist of it.
How many of you have experienced partial and total independence? When did you realize you made the switch? Leave you comments below, I’d love to continue this conversation with you.