I’m independent. My mother has been telling me that since I was 10 years old. It felt like a compliment then, although I wasn’t sure. Now I’m confident that it was. So today when people tell me that, I just smile and say, “I know.”
My independent streak has what’s allowed me to book a flight to Europe and head out on my own, just me and my backpack. It’s what’s allowed me to travel the way I want and see the things I’ve always wanted to. What’s allowed me to sit alone in a cafe and people-watch, or spend a whole day at the Louvre when most people are breezing past the most famous works. Or eat a whole box of Ladurée macrons on my own.
I love not being dependent on anyone to do the things I want to do. I’m happy that I don’t have to rely on anyone else’s schedule to travel the world.
Not that it hasn’t gotten me into trouble. Because independence often goes with pride, and pride leads to not asking for help when you need it. Like asking for directions. Or asking which train is headed to Antwerp and which is headed to Amsterdam.
But independence is freedom. People often think independence means wanting to be alone, but it doesn’t. It means being comfortable with yourself when you are. And I’ve learned how to do that…and how to do that on a different continent.
People all use different words to describe me: dry and witty, quiet and shy, smart and capable. But the common adjective is always “independent.” And I’m definitely proud of that.
All pictures are mine.