Self-reliance is when you live alone in a foreign country where you don’t have any close friends or family and you get sick. It is taking care of yourself when you have a fever and a sore throat, playing two roles simultaneously as caregiver and receiver because you have no other option.
It’s getting up to make yourself tea or soup or fill the hot water bottle when you can barely function enough to get out of bed but those are things you need. It is knowing you will have to walk to the shops even though you are dizzy and weak from throwing up but you have no choice because the food and toilet paper and medicine are not going to buy themselves.
It’s forcing yourself to stay awake through the night because your throat is so swollen and your breathing so shallow you are afraid if you fall asleep you might stop being able to breathe and you know no one will be there to get you to the hospital if that should happen.
It is standing outside of yourself and inside of yourself at the same time, comforting the poor girl slouched against the wall hanging on to the toilet as she is sick, whispering kind and loving words of self-care and comfort as you struggle to breathe from all the congestion and shake from the fever.
It is in laying in bed absolutely still and beaten to your core but triumphant that you are still alive due to nobody’s credit but your own.
It is in feeling mentally strong when you are physically weak because every second that moves forward is because of your resolve. Your comfort is of your own making, not determined or reliant on someone else. It is the feeling of freedom in absolute vulnerability to yourself. It is suffering and truly being with your suffering, no running, no avoiding, no one to take it away. Just being.