“Strong INDEPENDENT Woman: is it all it’s cracked up to be?” by: Lorraine Jonell Stephens

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Is being a strong independent woman all it’s cracked up to be? You bet it is. Nothing feels better than being able to take care of yourself and knowing that no matter what another person says or does, your fate, your destiny and your well being is in the palms of your own hands. With a little, or a lot of help from God of course, no other human being gets to call the shots in your life. It’s all on you boo!

Modern Women and New-School Brothers

But as wonderful as being independent is, nowadays a whole lot of women (especially these modern women) and a whole bunch of men (especially these new-school brothers) have it twisted on what it means to be an Independent woman. Often times raised by single, strong independent women themselves, they think a woman who has her own doesn’t need anybody’s help or financial contribution. Women be like, “I got my own house, got my own car, got a good job, shoot, I don’t need no man,” then will turn around and wonder why they, “don’t have no man.”

Not only that, but then some of these new-school brothers will come along and see a woman living lavishly from the fruit of her own labor and think not only does she not need me to help her out or anything, but she might can help me out a bit. “Can I borrow the keys to your car? or can you put some gas into mine?” 

Ummm, no sir. Pump the breaks…screech! There’s a difference between being independent and being a sugar mama. If you want a ride, the Metro bus comes every 15 minutes and if you want some gas in your car better find the nearest Chevron and filler up, cause I refuse. I’m independent meaning I can take care of myself, but I’m not taking care of you; a grown man. Point. Blank. Period. In my Donnie Brasco voice, “Forget about it.”

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Just because a woman can do for herself, doesn’t negate the role and responsibility of a man. Brace yourself modern women because I’m about to say something that might get a few rocks thrown at me and have me thrown out of the strong Black woman sisterhood committee, but I believe it and I stand behind my statement. Get this ladies, the man is supposed to be the leader and the provider. In the household he’s supposed to carry the larger load of the financial responsibilities. I don’t care how much money you make sister girl, brother man is supposed to be slaying those bills as if his first name was Bill and his last name was Slayer.

Yes, we know you can do it by yourself. And of course you are supposed to be able to do it by yourself if you are single and by yourself or if you’re married and he’s sick, disabled, temporarily unemployed or for one reason or the other unable at the moment. But girlfriend (leaning in close to you and smacking my gum extra hard) listen, if you have a grown man living up in your house I don’t care how independent you are, he better be doing 90 to your 10, 80 to your 20, 70 to your 30 or even 60 to your 40, but I ain’t even try’na hear you talking about we going half on the rent; 50:50. That’s your husband, not your roomate. But I know some of these modern women and new-school brothers, they don’t hear me though. Carry on and do whatever works in your household, but as for me and mine, humph, I’m independent, but my man is going to be the main provider.

 

Couple lying down with bills

Miss Independent Traveler: Off to Paradise She Went

So anyways, back to focusing on what a real Independent woman is; case and point, one of my besties. And I hope she’s reading this, well let’s just say she better be reading this because I’m going to flood her inbox, newsfeed and blow up her phone with text messages to let her know I’m mentioning her in a post. Well anyways, a couple of weeks ago she took a trip to the Bahamas solo. My feelings weren’t hurt that I wasn’t invited, ok they were, but just a tinsy little bit. But once I worked through my feelings of rejection, I was actually super proud of her.

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She wanted to go somewhere warm and pretty with a nice beach, she had the money, she had the time off of work and she finally got her passport so off to paradise she went. She didn’t have to ask for permission from an overprotective boyfriend or husband. Her trip wasn’t financed by an old sugardaddy; although we often joke  that  having a rich wealthy “big poppa” would be nice. She didn’t have to open up her legs to anybody or sacrifice her self respect in order to pay for the plane ticket. She didn’t have to trick on some young tenderoni (a “Young Tender” as I call the young boys in their 20’s) to pay for his ticket just so she could have a beach side cuddle buddy. Nope, she she didn’t even have to wait around on other people for company and companionship.

She wasn’t even concerned about the naysayers who said it wasn’t safe for a woman to travel outside the country alone. She’s an independent woman and an independent woman is smart enough to navigate the world minus a companion. She can hustle and bustle through a busy airport with the best of ’em, can catch a cab from one side of a foreign country to the next making sure the taxi man isn’t taking advantage of her and she would never put herself in harms way, because if she doesn’t look out for herself, who will?

 

Independence Doesn’t Mean Isolation

Back at home, any independent woman knows it feels good to say you pay for the car you drive, the roof over your head, the food in your refridgerator, the clothes on your back and on a hot summer night if you want to blast the air conditioning all night long, letting the cold air give you frosty feet, it’s fine because it’s you who pays that sky high electricity bill.

But don’t get me wrong. Being independent isn’t about glorifying being alone and/or doing everything by your lonesome. As my friend confessed, it would’ve been nice to have a male companion on her Bahamian escapades and she looks forward to taking trips with the husband God will soon bless her with in the near future, but the key word is NICE, not necessary.

 

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It’s nice to treat yourself, pay your own bills and take trips anywhere in the world alone on a whim, but independence doesn’t mean isolation, arrogance or an, “I don’t need nobody” attitude.  Sweetie, I know that business suit doesn’t have a cape attached to the back and their isn’t a ‘S’ on your chest. You’re going to need somebody at some point in time so instead of burning yourself out by trying to do it all and be it all, relax and find somebody to lean on a little sometimes. Jesus is an excellent start. Cast your cares on Him, let Him lighten your burdens and He will give you rest.

“I’m a strong Independent woman and I don’t nobody”…girl, sit down

While being independent is great, and admirable even, it ain’t that special. Let’s see, you have a job, make your own money, pay your own bills and you take care of yourself. Hmmm, that’s the basic requirements of being an adult. You should be able to take care of yourself. I know not everybody does it, because some women are lazy and instead of using the natural talent that God gave them to go out (or stay home for that matter) and do meaningful work, they’d rather sit up under a man and let him provide everything. Yes, I said the man is supposed to be the provider, but he’s not going to be doing everything. I also said he should be doing 90 to your 10, 80 to your 20, 70 to your 30 or even 60 to your 40, but come on now. 100 to your 0? That’s being a little too dependent. You have got to be bringing something to the table; side dishes while he brings the main course.

          But some of us single independent women take it too far thinking that we should be constantly praised for our independence. And when the world doesn’t bow to the splendor that is our independent selves, some of us feel the need to shout it loud from the rooftop. Up there singing old Destiny Child songs talking about, “All the women who independent throw your hands up at me.” Sista, you don’t get brownie points for paying bills, what you get is to stay in your house or apartment for another month without getting evicted.

 

Truth is, a lot of women who arrogantly claim to be strong and independent and “don’t need no man or nobody” would gladly trade in a little bit of their independence (just a little) for a good man who they can depend on. A good man who will give them a break from paying the bills all by their lonesome and a good man who will straight up take care of them for a change.

 

It Truly is all It’s Cracked up to be

So back to my friend, Miss Independent traveler. She didn’t go to the Bahamas by herself to get her groove back because homegirl never lost it. She went to rest, relax and retreat because after working hard, making money, paying bills and holding down the household, that’s what independent women need.

Some women would’ve delayed the trip waiting until they got into a relationship, waiting until some man could pay for them or just waiting on somebody to validate their desire to go, but tomorrow isn’t guaranteed to anyone so why wait? If you want to do something or go somewhere and you have the means, don’t let anyone or not having anyone stop you. Go for it.

That’s what separates a real independent woman from the rest; she lives life on her own terms doing what makes her heart go pitter patter, not worrying about the opinions of others and not waiting on anyone to fly. She takes a leap of faith, spreads her wings and soars. That’s what makes being independent truly all it’s cracked up to be.

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What do you think, is being INDEPENDENT all that it’s cracked up to be or should we learn to be a little more dependent on others? Kindly leave your questions or comments below.

*To view more of Lorraine Jonell Stephens blog please visit www.LorraineJS.com*

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