Monday, July 18, 2011
I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T Do You Know That Means?
I was perusing Facebook recently when I came across a (semi) friend's status in which she was proudly proclaiming her independence. The comment thread was filled with comments from women all making similar proclamations. Me, being the inquisitive (aka nosy) person that I am couldn't help but click on a few of these "independent" women's pages and what I found was A. they all had children, B. they were all single and C. on Father's Day almost every single one of them had negative statuses referring to their child's absentee father. Eventually I made my way back to my friend's page and posed the question, what does it mean to be independent? The response: "I don't need no man, blah, blah, blah," that same tired man hating rhetoric that I have come to find both comical and quite troubling. So I posed another question, if your independence is dependent on your need of a man, or lack there of, are you truly independent? After a few more, "I don't need no man, " anthems I let it go but it definitely made me think. What exactly does it mean to be "independent?" It's a word we seem to throw out rather quickly and there's usually a certain amount of respect in being described as such...But what does it mean? According to Webbie, an independent woman is one who has her own house, her own job, two kids, no man, and is a bad broad. Well, I currently rent, have no kids, a wonderful partner, and while I have no problem referring to myself as bad as hell, there's just something about the word broad that may get you punched if you EVER refer to me as such (please don't test me on that one). So I guess that puts me out of the "Independent" category. So I ask again, what does it mean when we claim to be independent? Most women will say they're independent because they don't need a man for anything. Well, let me let the cat of the bag: men, partners, and spouses are not the be all end all of independence. My independence means that I'm able to what I need to do to accomplish what I need to accomplish and feel secure enough in making those decisions on my own. And the truth of the matter is, I've been that way for a long time. Long before I even noticed the opposite sex. My mom often jokes that I was born doing things my way, often times without first asking or getting her permission. She would make jokes about my, "strong will," and "inquisitive nature," but she was really quite supportive of my exerting my independence at a very young age. As long as I understood the consequences of my actions I had her full support. And that freedom fostered true independence. When I was 18 and decided to join the Air Force, there wasn't a family discussion around the table like you see on television. I came home and informed my mother that I would be leaving for basic training in August. That was in June. When I decided I was sick of relaxing my hair, I simply stopped. I didn't ask anyone for their opinion. I could go on and on about thousands of decisions I've made completely independent of anyone but there's no need. I will say that while I admire women who don't "need" a man for anything, let's keep it real ladies: the vast majority of us want and long for a happy, healthy, loving relationship. For all of my independence and ability to do for self, I must admit, it was nice to have a man around to save the day when I pulled the shower knob out of the wall and water was shooting all over the bathroom. And admitting so doesn't make me any less independent, it simply makes me human.