From a very young age, I have always been my own person. At age eight, I had opted out of the normal child’s life. Instead of spending breaks playing with other kids, I spent my lunch hour reading in the library.
I would spend hours in daydreams, filling blank sheets of paper with imaginary beings, poring over books, or building origami kingdoms. My most prized possessions were coloured pencils and square sheets of art paper. I prefer the company of inanimate objects to people. Possibly because I had tired of getting people to like me when I felt they wouldn’t, or more probably, couldn’t.
As an adult, independence came as the most natural way to be. I shunned group-think and going with the crowd. I rarely stuck with one specific group of people for prolonged periods of time. I have multiple circles of friends, and I never tied myself down to any of them. Emotionally, I would keep my distance. The solitude of earlier years has become my way of life.
I lived independently when most of my peers were either living with their parents or getting married. I paid my own bills, did my own laundry, cooked my own meals. I would travel solo – to the horror of my parents and older sister – and make plans with or without companions. If people couldn’t make it, I’d go anyway. I didn’t sit around waiting for other people to make up their minds. Life was short, and I was impatient.
Living independently came easy to me, because it meant I didn’t have to bother much about anyone else. My time was my own. I didn’t need to ask permission or schedule my activities around someone else’s calendar. At some point, I looked at my life and said – no way is anyone else going to fit into my schedule. There is just no space for another person here.
I was totally fine with that.
Perhaps that’s what other people see, too. There is no room in my highly cramped calendar for dates. And I am perfectly happy being on my own. Hence, I am alone.
But here’s what I have to say – anyone who’s had to manage their calendars know that whilst scheduling is usually a matter of availability, it is more often a matter of priorities. It is a choice. I can choose to shift things around for other people if I need to. And I have. Though very few have asked.
Independent women are scary because you know they can live without you. They can easily fill the empty hours with other things and other people. But here is the wonderful thing (if you ever reach that point). Independent women can just as easily choose to have you in their lives. Those who would normally rather be alone, would now rather be with you. Not out of neediness, or compulsion, or boredom. But by choice. It can be as simple as that.
I love being my own person. And I love meeting other people who aren’t afraid to be their own persons, too. Most people go through life looking for their other half, waiting to be whole. But the real beauty in life is when two wholes meet – because that is when people stay together not out of dependence, but out of their own free will.
That is when they choose to love.