To all of my fellow friends out there that can’t quite grasp the recognition of your own worth and strengths: this one is for you.

I seemed to have lost control of my emotions; it feels as though my life has been swallowed up, and I am merely floating in some sort of empty space.

I had to take a mini break from blogging, because I have been unable to form my feelings into words. I barely can do so now, but knew writing would help to decompress my thoughts. (Long story short, sorry in advance if this post is a bit scattered.)

Over the past few weeks, my perspective of my day to day life has changed drastically. Major stressors have consumed my existence, and with that, I feel as though I have been forced to grow up overnight.

Although I am 21 years old and about to go into my senior year of college, I still have always seen myself as an innocent and lost little girl. However, as I reflect upon these new hardships that I’m dealing with, I have come to realize that this is far from the truth. On the contrary, over the past year, my independence has blossomed. Who would have thought that a girl whose mother is suddenly taken from her has to quickly learn to become a woman on her own?

I was “fortunate” (awful word, but can’t seem to think of a better one at the moment) enough to have already gotten through two whole years of college when I lost my mom. By then, at 19 years of age, I was a legal adult who had had some life experience under her belt. However, despite this numerical milestone, I had never felt more connected to Bambi– a little fawn learning to walk without the guidance of its mom. Though, I now am able to recognize that that horrendous year has given me the strength and courage that I so desperately needed in order to grow and find myself.

Because I have been able to push through such agonizing personal hardships, I am now quite proud of the person I’ve grown to be. The calamities I have lived through, and continue to live through, have prepared me for whatever life has to throw at me next– something quite evident at this moment in time. From being forced into a Bambi role to now taking on an entirely new role as a caretaker for my father, I have become more aware of my independence.

For some odd reason, I think a lot about a specific scene from the 2016 film How To Be Single. (I went to see this in theaters with my gal pals when pretty much all of us knew nothing other than singleness.) However, I think about this movie, not in comparison to romantic relationships, but when thinking about my individuality as a whole.

I cannot really remember what the movie is about, but one pivotal scene has seemed to have glued itself to my brain. This is referring to the moment when the main character is finally able to pull up the back zipper of her dress all by herself.

You may be thinking, Where on Earth are you going with this? But, trust me, I have a point.

There is utmost importance in having the capability to zip up a dress on your own.

In the film, having just come out of a long term relationship, the main character had never needed to do such a seemingly minor task on her own before. Instead, she always had relied on her partner to do so. Thus, that single-handed zipper pull was so crucial to her character development.

I think a major reason that this scene has stuck with me is because it shows, in the most simplistic and mundane manner, just how important independence is.

It is inevitable that some tasks will require another person’s assistance. Likewise, knowing when to ask for help is also incredibly beneficial for your overall wellbeing. However, regardless of this, I am a firm believer that recognizing and growing your independence will help to keep you grounded.

Being completely dependent on another human being may be really valuable to your life now, but it can easily turn around to bite you in the future. I will be the first to tell you that absolutely nothing is guaranteed.

At the end of the day, you will always be the person that is there for yourself– no matter how big your support system is. Thus, learning how to love yourself and give back to your mind and your body is the best thing you can do for yourself.

I’m not saying that from now on you should reject others’ offers for help. Instead, just try to recognize your own potential and how much you can do on your own. And, in that process, tend to your physical and mental wellbeing. I am well aware that this is all easier said than done– I’m in this exact midway process myself– but I am also now extremely aware of how beneficial my blooming independence is.

So, moral of the story, recognize your own strengths. You do not need to lean on someone else to accomplish what you want in life. Sometimes, others can even be the ones that are holding you back.