Written By Crystal Bermel

What Is Independence? To me it is a feeling and an experience. To some independence means moving miles and miles away from one’s family.

Or it means to live without help from others. To some it means just that smidge of independence when your parents leave you alone for an extended period of time- like when you are given trust to keep the house or siblings safe. To me it is a mixture of all these bits. It’s about moving away from my family, but being close enough to go over when I need to.

It’s about being recognized as an individual and not so and so’s sister or niece or daughter or…it means to be able to say “No, I can handle this”, and be able to handle it.
For me, I feel content in having found my own independence in this world.

From my childhood straight through to my teenage years and onwards to where I am now in my adult life, it has not been easy. I quickly had to grow up early due to the circumstances of my life. My first step to independence and who I am today, was learning to read. I remember being about 6 years old and trading all my toys for an electronic toy laptop from a nearby toy shop. This is what would help me learn to read and it made me very proud to have made the choice I did.
Another time I remember a spark of independence was around my graduation year. I had found a pair of high heels I wanted to buy. I saved my own money from babysitting to buy these shoes.

It was MY graduation and I had saved up the money and felt proud. My Aunt helped by encouraging me in my decision and this contributed to my feeling of independence.
The last little nugget I wish to tell you is about moving into my own place in which I now call home. The guardian I lived with after my high school graduation also served as my mentor as I became an adult. She helped me in finding my new home. My guardian watched proudly as I signed my lease agreement.

My first night in MY home was both scary and exciting as I would truly be left to my own devices. I have lived here for 9 years and am proud to say I’m an independent woman.
Independence to me are these moments of freedom in which I made the choice because it was the choice that made me happy. The important thing is that I did it and not anybody else!

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