Can a woman be too i n d e p e n d e n t?


I love having my own place, my own things, my own space. I love how my apartment is my sanctuary. I love how my bedroom is a place of romance and respite – sometimes at the same time, sometimes separately; it’s quiet, beautiful, peaceful, always smells good from the remnants of burnt candles and the aroma of fresh flowers by the bed: it’s my haven, and I miss it so much.

Most of the time I love being with my family, especially now that I’m not well. Now, I see them, and so many other people whom I care about, through different eyes. Spending so much time with them after being completely by myself, no friends, no family (I did have my faithful companion with me- my precious dog) for 7 months is teaching me just how independent I am- even more than I thought I was before, perhaps even….too independent for my own good?

As I’ve become less reliant on them for my daily needs since I can now go up and down the stairs, I don’t need the hospital bed I was sleeping in for 3 months anymore, I’m cleared to drive myself anywhere, anytime….it’s almost as if they’re upset that I don’t “need” them. I am possibly battling a terminal illness and I understand their desire to spend as much time with me as possible because I’ve also been making it my job to reach out and spend time with all the people I love and care about, yet I still need my space – and I don’t want to be questioned.

Funny story that prompted this post:
The time is 10:36PM – I grab my heels, and with my car keys in hand I say, “I’m leaving- see you later!” Three people from my family come running out to question me about where I’m going, why am I going so late, when am I coming back, telling me that I need to stay home….yada, yada, yada. I feel myself getting very irritated with the questions. I actually changed my plans from a breakfast date to a very late date just so I could spend time with them the entire day, and here they were, giving me strife for going out. But, how do you tell your parents, “I’m going out on a flex (Caribbean term for doing something that you want to keep private) – can you please stop cock-blocking?” Lol. That’s what I really wanted to say, but I kept quiet and just kept re-iterating that I would be fine. Then someone asked, “What time are you getting back?” I’m thinking to myself, “Are you serious? It’s almost 11PM – obviously, I am NOT coming back until tomorrow!” Instead of saying my thoughts out loud, I say, “I don’t know. You guys never used to do this before. I’m not dying yet- I’ll be fine, geesh!” Then I walk out and firmly close the door behind me. This happened a few times over the past few weeks. It was cute at first. Now I’m in a “Come ON, people, I am too old and way too independent for this!” place. And that feeling doesn’t stop with them.

The same friend I changed plans with sent me a text asking me where have I been and what have I been doing all day- why did I ask to switch the time? I look at the phone in my hand for a few seconds after reading the text, roll my eyes and kiss my teeth, then put the phone on the table next to me. I think for a few minutes, and then I pick up the phone and reply, I tell him that I was spending time with my family at their request. When I get to his place, he looks me up and down and asks me why am I so dressed up. Here’s the thing….Sam is ALWAYS dressed up and he knows this! I start thinking to myself I don’t have time for this – this ain’t no damn relationship, this is a FLEX – we spend time, we have fun, that’s IT. I feel an attitude about to emerge, but I don’t want to take the frustration I feel towards my family out on him. I gently remind him of something he already knows by saying, “You know I dress like this all the time.” I add, “Look- my family is really stressing me out by smothering me and questioning me about everything I do and wherever I go – I came here for a break from that. I just want to have a good time with you tonight, okay? Please, let’s do that.” We ended up having a really good conversation where he shared with me that he thinks I’ve become so dependent on myself that I don’t know how to allow other people to be genuinely concerned about me and allow someone else to take care of me when I need to be cared for. And you know what? He’s right. I’m the one who has always been looking out for and taking care of other people – it feels awkward to fall back and allow people to “do” for me.

So, I seriously contemplated these questions: Is it detrimental to someone’s well being to be totally reliant on themselves and no one else? Is it prideful to not want to accept anything from someone when you’re in need – especially when you’re sick and need physical assistance? My physician reamed me out because 10 days after my surgery, I drove to Philadelphia on business. But..it’s MY company, I had an obligation, and I intended to see it through. Everyone kept asking, “Why can’t you just send someone to do it for you?” My answer? “I can’t. Because no one is going to take care of it the way that *I* will take care of it, and I am not asking anyone to do anything for me.” I did end up paying for that trip as I was confined to the bed for a few days afterwards, but you know what doing that showed me? That I could do what they said I should not do….I did what they said I could NOT do. And it made me regain my strength at a faster pace – before I knew it, I was back to training with a friend for a 5K marathon we’re running for an equine charity later this month, and a 10K one that I’m planning to run in September.

Was all of that detrimental to me and my health? I don’t think so…hey, I’m still here. And if I wasn’t as independent as I am, I would have never gotten as strong as I did so fast after my surgery. At the end of the day, I came into this world by myself and I am going to leave it by myself….people, especially men, have continually let me down and disappointed me, so as far as I can tell, being “too independent” has done me well. What do you guys think – do you agree? Send me a message and let me know your thoughts.

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