I was born in the 70s. A time of discovery for women. They discovered wearing pants, became more involved in political processes, and taking on positions that were previously held by men. Being African-American or Afro-American women the time included dashikis, wearing our natural hair and speaking up and out…the louder, the prouder. Being a child in that timeline meant I watched my mother and her friends trade in their aprons and go full-time into the workforce. I was surrounded by single moms who were making their own money, taking care of their families and didn’t NEED a man at all. My favorite commercial back then was one were the women were singing “I can bring home the bacon AND fry it up in a pan”. Being a woman was GREAT but being an INDEPENDENT woman was greater!
The one thing wasn’t included for me was much discussion about productive relationships or the role of wife and mother in the home. It also didn’t include celebrating your significant other or how to navigate matters of the heart. You see a self-sufficient woman learns how to do all those things. She stands up and steps up for her family in a time of need without making her partner feel less than because of it. She knows that there is a power in a gentle word, compassion and partnership.
The idea of being an INDEPENDENT woman came to me with all the attitude of “I don’t need nobody”. But from where I was standing it worked. Right? The women around me who had a husband/boyfriend kept him “in line”. They monitored his every move, set up and conducted successful STING operations, knew what his pay check looked like and were quick to the draw when he didn’t comply with the rules. Sounds like some Charlie’s Angels stuff right there!! I watched these women and I admired them and so many of us desired to become just like them. You see the quality of life we were in pursuit of had to have all the drama and delightful defeat in order to claim the title “Baddest B**ch”.
What do I know now? I know that independence is beautiful, when properly executed. Knowing how to wash my own clothes and cook a meal is independence. Being able to balance a check book (still not too good at that one) is independence. Taking my car in to be serviced, attending my son’s track meet even if his dad doesn’t..is indepence. Stepping out into this big world and trying something, learning something, doing something new..THAT is independence. However, the emotional and spiritual beating down of another is not. Moving through life thinking you have all the answers and everyone better listen is NOT. Controlling someone else, at all cost, is not. Belittling someone because they didn’t do it your way is not. Oh and no matter what you are wearing or how fine you may be..that still isn’t attractive.
In many of our lives there has or will come a time when a medical professional will use the phrase “quality of life” when discussing the care of ourselves or a loved one. I have learned that usually has little to nothing to do with the car we drive or the clothes we wear. Nor will it have anything to do with the fear we ignite in others by the meer mention of our name. Quality speaks to peace, emotional and physical comfort. These things cannot exist in a spirit filled with malice and strife.
Being self-sufficient allows us to see value in others. It breeds compassion and appreciation. Great partnerships are born and amazing love stories take shape. A self-sufficient woman chooses quality of life over quantity in life. She invests in herself, she motivates others. She has no problem sharing the spotlight. She isn’t the latest trend..she’s legendary.