Towards the end of my freshman year of college, I had a friend tell me how much she admired how independent I am. It was one of the best compliments I had ever received. For someone else to recognize my independence, and admire me for it, was this insanely incredible thing.
For someone to recognize something that I was proud of was a nice thing. It was not something I needed, but it was something that made me feel appreciated.
Fast forward six months or so and another friend was trying to "set me up" with someone another friend knew. He told her how I was "different, she just does her own thing" and he couldn't think of somebody like that. Another friend chimed in about how I'm just so independent, she doesn't need anybody. Something about that stung me. The words I was so proud of only six months ago, now felt like a cut on the tip of my tongue. My independence, in a matter of moments, was no longer this thing I felt proud of. I was confused. Was that an insult? A backhanded compliment? What the hell does that mean in that context?
When did being independent become a bad thing? When did knowing my worth exclude me from being "normal"? When did being able to go and do things on my own make me not a part of the club?
I'm not sure what shifted in those few months, or if it was always skewed and I failed to see it.
It doesn't matter though.
I am independent. If there is one thing my mother has taught me it is to be able to hold my own. I can grocery shop by myself. I can spend a Saturday afternoon with nothing but my own company and not be miserable. I can check my own oil and change a taillight in a car. I don't need anyone to validate my own worth. I know all these things.
That does not exclude me from wanting to share those things with other people, whether they be friends or a boyfriend. I am an independent, and if being otherwise is what it takes to become more appealing to boys and other friends, then count me out. I refuse to be the damsel in distress in yet another narrative. Looking for the constant approval of others is exhausting.
Sitting at home and crying over some boy is not in my agenda. Having to constantly be invited to things so that I know my friends "love" me is a no go. Not being able to function by myself is a hell no.
So for those of you who might see my independence, or anyone else's as an issue, see your self to the door and please let it hit you on the way out.