No one likes that word, or at least I don’t. I like to think I can do everything on my own, as long as I just learn enough, practice enough, think about it enough. I like to think I don’t need other people, that they’re just a fun, optional addition to this thing called “life.”
And why? Because “dependency” is often synonymous with “vulnerability.” You can’t get close to people without being at least a little vulnerable to them. And vulnerability, more often than not, is extremely painful. When you get close to someone, you make it stupid easy to be hurt by them, and for them to be hurt by you.
People suck. It is a fundamental fact in this universe that we all call home that human beings make mistakes. A lot of them. Sometimes we really do mean the best for the people we love, but we let our pride or our selfishness or our greed get in the way of it, and we end up hurting people, whether they’re people that matter to us, or people we couldn’t care less about but maybe should.
Sometimes our only mistake is ignorance. “I didn’t mean to,” we’ll say, “I didn’t know any better.” The terrible truth is that those words, when uttered by someone we depend upon, don’t feel like anything more than lemon juice poured into an open wound. You should have known better, we’ll think. Why didn’t you love me enough to know better?
I hate depending on others, because not only does it highlight the imperfections of those I wish were perfect, but it highlights how vastly, enormously, astronomically imperfect I am. And that, to me, sucks the most.
I love the people I depend upon. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t depend on them. I love them so deeply. It’s in my nature. The worst thing that I can imagine in the world is hurting them. I don’t like to face the fact that sometimes I really suck. I get angry and frustrated and jealous and I hate it.
To anyone else I meet or know only superficially, I don’t have to worry about it. I know how to play well with others, or fit into the crowd. But this “dependability,” this “vulnerability,” means others get to see me at my worst. It means I can hurt them and they can hurt me, and I wish I knew how to handle it. If you want a sneak peak into the struggles of Caleb Heckman, this is it: The hardest thing I’ve had to deal with this past year are the people I love. Because I depend upon them. Because they can hurt me and I can hurt them. Because they have hurt me, and I have hurt them.
Sometimes I wish I could be entirely independent. That all I have to do is figure enough of life out, and I would never have to get close to another human being as long as I live. But I read something somewhere that’s been sticking inside my head like a thorn. I read something that told me that if we were meant to be completely independent, we would have been given everything we needed in and of ourselves. But we weren’t. We were designed to find what we needed in others, and so we must sometimes be close. We must sometimes depend. We must sometimes be vulnerable.
And that’s the hardest thing, I know. Dependancy.