It seems like I have been fighting for independence my entire life, trying to become “my own” person. I wanted to do things my way, and so I have. But somehow I learned to equate independence with going it alone. My guiding aspiration has been to never need anyone. And all the while, mostly unconsciously, I have also been striving to be someone who is needed.
It has been a lonely road. I long to be loved, to be connected to others. So I did unto others. I loved, and I nurtured connections. However, I still didn’t need anyone, didn’t trust anyone. Thus my independence has been a shield that has kept people at bay.
I have built my fortress of independence on shifting sands. I taught myself to forego forming a partnership, a healthy dependence, on something beyond me. But this independence has proved false and it has served to disempower me. By working so hard to assert my independence, I created the duality of self and other, other and me…breeding conflict and separation.
I cannot ask others to trust me as long as I trust no one. I cannot be needed by others if I need no one.
To form connections, I must discard the walls that keep me isolated, insular. To show trust, strength and confidence, I have to be vulnerable, without defenses and without offenses. I seek to immerse myself in the chaos of life, and yet remain at peace, to be fully present in the world, but not attached to anything.
In a Five Rhythms dance class, our teacher told us, “it takes discipline to be a free spirit.” Life is about balance. Independence and dependence coexisting. I have left out half the equation while still expecting a different sum. Now I am learning how to need. I am practicing letting go off the reins, trusting something else to drive. Something else could be another person, a higher power or just my higher Self. However, I know that I need to need…something, somehow, sometimes.
The following is both a love letter and a thank you note, expressing my new and true feelings from a recent experience with dependence on another person.
I feel like I told you everything.
You listened so completely that I didn’t need words any more. You opened me up so that all that I was, am, and will be lay stretched out before you, comfortably naked. I believed you could handle everything I shared, nothing would be a burden. I heard myself too. I really revealed myself to us both.
You made me feel beautiful, resplendently adorned with every detail of my past. I got drunk on you. You saw all of me and I felt entirely seen. Your attention undressed me before my clothes could come off. You unpeeled my layers from the inside out.
You made me feel safe, wrapped in your arms or even just in your presence. Your gentle strength amazed me, and my trusting you amazed me more. You sheltered me while I removed my protective barriers. I saw how freely life could be lived without them.
You touched me like I have always wanted to be touched. You showed me what is possible. I have never felt more like a woman, a strong feminine woman, than I did that one night with you.
You taught me what I deserve to receive from another. I lacked for nothing with you. And whether or not we see each other again, you were just what I needed.
The language I used may sound like I have given away my power, disowning it…that is exactly right. It feels like I have. In the presence of another person, through trusting some one, I started to learn how to need. We were two, then we became one as I let myself be carried.
So perhaps, all I learned is that I don’t need independence. By relinquishing one kind of power, I found a new source of empowerment. From independence, dependence has brought me to interdependence, my new guiding principle.