Twisting, melancholy words taint the bittersweet confidence that has grown roots within my soul.
Despite how far I’ve come, it seems that the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that I can’t do everything by myself.
I’ve found words like “independent” and “self-assured,” and I’ve painted them in beautiful colors, attaching them to my lapel in an attempt to have them become my identity.
The truth is that I probably haven’t been either of those qualities since I was a young girl, giving the middle finger to the status quo—but somewhere, between the life I thought I would live and the one that has actually blossomed, I’ve felt like I’ve had to make up the difference.
That somehow, I would be failing if I let the ball drop and admit that I need someone.
I’m not sure when it began, but somewhere on the path life has taken me on, it seems I was taught that I wasn’t supposed to actually need anyone.
If I admitted that I did—or even that I just couldn’t do it all on my own anymore—somehow, I would become less of a woman, and I certainly would not be the role model that a single mom is supposed to be for her two young daughters.
Yet, now I’m left wondering: why?
When did it become the worst thing in the world to admit that we can’t do it all on our own?
It seems that the more I learn about life (and myself), I see that this world is set up for us to collaborate. None of us give birth, and then leave our child out in the wilderness to fend for themselves—our entire lives are built around relationships and needing others.
Sometimes, we need someone to fix the dishwasher—and other times, we might need someone to change the oil. What about when we need a ride to the airport? Or even just to be held? There’s certainly no app for that, and I don’t think Uber delivers that kind of service.
What I’m talking about are soul needs—and the realization that comes from understanding that none of us are meant to do this thing called life alone.
We all need support and guidance—and sometimes, we just need that one person in the world who can tell us that we aren’t crazy, and to dream even bigger. And maybe that means calling a timeout and talking to me straight about what I’m doing, but it’s still a need. These desires can’t be fulfilled by ourselves alone, and when we try, we end up unbalanced because we’re not meant to solely exist within our own minds. (Trust me, I’ve tried.)
However, when we try to do everything, sometimes we end up feeling like nothing works.
There are a handful of things I’m great at: spinning beautiful sonnets about the moon, dancing in the rain, finding the beauty in life, having faith, caring for others—and, on my better days, keeping my household running relatively smoothly and my two kids (mostly) properly dressed.
But there is a whole world out there filled with things that I am not so great at—and that I have no desire to be great at. I don’t want to do it all. I don’t want to be so self-sufficient that there is no place in my life for another—someone to compliment what I lack, and who I can do the same for.
It sometimes feels like my heart hardens against what this life throws at me—and, in order for me to be able to do it all, I need to become tougher, stronger, and close off this whole other part of myself.
I suppose that what I want is to stay soft. I don’t want to lose my sensitivity, or the way that I can breathe easily and feel my shoulders release the weight of the world when I’m being held by someone I love.
We have to give up the notion that just because we need someone in our lives, somehow makes us “less than.”
Even as I write this, I feel like somehow I’m giving up—that I’ve been divulging state secrets I shouldn’t discuss, because what would others think if word got around that I just can’t do it all by myself anymore?
Would I be a sell out? A passive-aggressive slap in the face to feminism? Perhaps I’d receive comments about how many people I do have there for me, which is only a mediocre, feel-better type of response. The reality is that I’m alone.
I’m not waving the white flag, but I am saying that I’m tired…and I’m done.
I’m finished with pretending that I wear this superwoman cape that means I don’t need anyone for anything. Not only did that cape never fit, but I also truly believe that it can come between our egos and that part of ourselves that desires a close, romantic relationship.
We all want to be needed on some level—but there’s something special, something unique, about knowing someone needs us, even if it’s only to be reminded of the beauty this life holds. Because then, it means we hold a space that no other person can fill.
So, I’m done with it all—with pretending that I can do it all, or that I want to.
I masquerade as a woman who doesn’t need anyone…but I do. I have this soft spot in my life—maybe even a hole—not because I’m incomplete, but because none of us are meant to do this thing called life by ourselves.
And, admitting it is the hardest part.
Author: Kate Rose for ElephantJourna