Can I be Independent in Peace?

No man is an island; I believe this and I agree with it. To me, that means we all need each other. In fact, one of my best songs to describe the situation, would be this song we sang in my fellowship in Secondary School.

Part of the lyrics says,

“You are important to me, I need you to survive.” The song resonates with me so much because I realise that even the best of us are interdependent and nobody is absolutely independent. Without going too deal, on the surface, I have a serious problem with society having a problem with a woman’s need for independence, especially from a man.

I honestly get it. It is not easy for us to do away with the brainwashing and conditioning we grew up with. All women seem to hear is, “a woman without a husband is like a house without a roof,” or “if a woman has everything but not a husband, she has nothing”. So no surprise g that all her life she does everything to make sure she gets married. Subconsciously – I don’t even believe we set out to do this most times but we have trained women to see marriage as their ultimate achievement, the one status which you have to get to be properly accepted in society and regarded as a complete woman. Even going to school is so she can be an asset, men don’t want liability.

The man is not left out, he is also trained to get married someday but it is not the same way. He is unconsciously taught he will be doing a woman a favour by marrying her. He can do as he likes and live his life anyway he wants, and then choose the best woman to settle down with. He is reminded that a woman has a biological clock and he doesn’t. She needs him, not the other way around. And when society sees a woman who actually wants to be alone, it becomes an anomaly. “Of course, it is not possible that you don’t want to get married. You are just pretending to be happy so we don’t think you are desperate.” Or when they are presented with a woman who wants love but also doesn’t want to lose her identity, she is tagged rebellious.

Why is it a problem that a woman doesn’t need a “man’ to survive? I put man in quotes because she definitely needs another human being but here, I mean it romantically. I honestly find that the greatest compliment to a man is that I don’t need him. Without him, I will survive but in spite of that, I am choosing to be with him. I would have thought it made more sense that I am not with you because you are my life source, but because I just want to be with you. I would have thought that, that is the definition of a healthy relationship.

I remember having this problem in my past relationship and he couldn’t understand my need for independence. He couldn’t understand why I didn’t just want him to solve all my problems. One thing he kept saying was, “then why am I your boyfriend?” And I remember reassuring him that I just needed him to love me. But I guess showing his love for me entails being my hero, and doing everything for me, which I was uncomfortable with. Needless to say, we are not together again because we could not find common ground.

Would it have mattered to me if he wanted his own space and independence. I don’t think it would have. But because I am a woman, I am supposed to be comfortable with being taken care of to the extent of letting him do it all and, losing myself in the relationship. I am honestly just not built that way. I want to able to do some things, make mistakes, learn from them, and take care of myself and him too beyond domestic responsibilities. I like to feel useful too in the relationship. I just want to be independent without anyone reading unnecessary meanings to it or labelling me and making it into something it is not.

Can I please be independent in peace? Is that too much to ask?

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