I remember Destiny’s Child releasing their song “Independent Women” my senior year of high school. Man, that song made being an independent woman look AWESOME! You get hang out with your best girlfriends showing off all your sweet “sassy pants” dance moves! Of course you look perfectly put together; wearing designer clothes and diamonds, with flawless make-up, and not a hair out of place! You ALWAYS felt 100% confident in your ability to take on the world! Oh, wait!?!? What? AND you’re fire proof! [@2:56] Hell yeah!!! An “Independent Woman” has it all and she doesn’t need anybody!
I like to think of myself as an “independent woman”. I have an education, a job, my own house, pay my own bills…yadda, yadda….For the most part, it’s something I take a lot of pride in, and it has it’s perks…like not having someone to stop you from painting your kitchen lime green or telling you that spending $150.00 to get your hair done is ridiculous…but let me tell you, it’s NOT all rainbows and butterflies!
There are a lot of major details missing in Destiny Child’s [and the media’s] picture of an independent woman. This video needs to show Beyonce watching a YouTube video, while trying to fix a leak under the kitchen sink, knocking a hose loose, having water spray everywhere…then throwing a temper tantrum that includes throwing a wrench across the room and lots of profanities…Wow, that sounded pretty specific, huh? Umm, not that that ever happened to me or anything….*Hey, look over there! She knows Kung Fu!! [@2:22]* My experiences as a single, “independent” woman have been much more like something out of an episode of “I Love Lucy” than a Beyonce music video. *I ❤ Lucy!!*
Why is it that women, regardless of where they are in their lives, are expected to be perfect? Super mommies, top of the career ladder, great cooks, spotless homes, perfect bodies, beautiful, and always poised with a smile on our faces. The sad thing is, so many of us buy into all that hype! We drive ourselves crazy and beat ourselves up trying to achieve some ridiculously unrealistic ideal. To set the record straight, here are some myths versus realities about being an independent woman…
Myth: Independent women make their own money, and have plenty of cash to spend on clothes, getting their hair and nails done, exotic vacations, fancy cars, jewelry, and diamonds.
Reality: Seriously, what person on a single income has money to buy random diamonds? Yes, I make my own money and most of it goes to pay my mortgage, utilities, car payment (For a VW Golf), insurance, groceries, gas, home repairs, and stuff for my daughter. I rarely have money to spend on myself and when I do…I shop at Target and thrift shops. *I got $20 in my pocket!!*
Myth: Independent women are always stylish, put together, and they style their hair and put on make-up every.single. day.
Reality: I look totally put together….like twice a year…maybe? By the time I squeeze in my morning work-out, I barely have time to shower and throw on clothes before work. I don’t wear make-up, put my hair in a pony tail, and usually am wearing some combination of jeans, t-shirts, and flats (No socks, because seriously, who time to make sorting socks a priority?). On the positive end of the spectrum some of my go to looks include; Somewhat presentable, Casual Free spirit, Almost Mentally Present, and I don’t really care what anyone thinks. It only goes downhill from there with some of my go to looks including; Totally Disheveled, Hot Mess, Frazzled Mama, I may have forgot to brush my hair/teeth and put on deodorant, and Zombie Chick. That last look actually kind of works with Walking Dead being back on T.V. and Halloween being right around the corner! *Mmmmm, Brains!!*
Myth: Independent women have plenty of time to hang out with their girlfriends and they spend all their nights partying at the swankest bars/dance clubs, laughing and gossiping while sipping on $20.00 Cosmopolitans. (Thanks Sex and the City for getting my hopes up on that one!!)
Reality: Since finishing high school and becoming an adult, I’ve discovered that free time is sparse. Up until recently, most of my nights and weekends were spent taking classes, studying, and working part time jobs. Now, my days are still pretty much crammed full from 6am-8pm…then the last thing I want to do is go out and be a socialite. At the end of a long day, nothing sounds more glorious and wonderful than a nap in my flannel P.J.s!
Myth: Independent women have fabulously trendy, modern, spotless, perfectly decorated apartments that look like they are straight out of a Crate and Barrel or IKEA catalog.
Reality: My house looks more like a helpless “before” pad from the series “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy”. I spend about 15 minutes a day cleaning…and by “cleaning” I mean shuffling my messes from one room to another. I don’t think I’ve EVER had every room in my house clean at the same time. I also don’t have the time, energy, or desire to spend my weekends shopping for cute accent furniture and nick-nacks…nor do I want to blow my limited spending cash on stuff I don’t need! (I only spend money on necessities like running shoes, race entries, and coffee mugs! Duh!)
Myth: Independent women are always strong, confident, and 100% in control of every aspect of their lives. And of course, they NEVER doubt themselves.
Reality: I have had days, weeks, months that have been a whirlwind and I’ve wondered how I am going to keep everything together. I’ve doubted myself, I’ve made mistakes (many, many mistakes…I could have been the Queen of Bad Decisions at one point in my life), I’ve had melt-downs….but I pick myself up, keep moving, and somehow things work out. And I am thankful for my failures! Failing and overcoming those failures is what has made me a more confident (Note: I did not say I’m always confident) woman…knowing I can overcome pretty much anything life throws at me!
Myth: Independent women don’t need ANYTHING from ANYBODY! They can handle ALL their business, 100% on their own!
Reality: I used to believe this, I was prideful to a fault. However, I finally learned the importance of having a solid support network, made up of wonderful family and friends….I learned to ask for help when I need it. I also learned to accept and appreciate having someone help me with things that I technically COULD handle on my own…because having someone to lighten my load is awesome! *Like when I found out my boyfriend LOVES to do yard work! Score!! Because I HATE it!! And I love my handsome Gardner!! 😉 *
Finally, here is a list of 10 things every REAL independent woman needs:
- A sense of humor
- A budget
- An emergency savings account
- A good home warranty (Best advice anyone has EVER given me, mines saved my life!)
- Wiki How and YouTube (You’d be amazed at what you can figure out using the Interwebz)
- A few basic tools; Power Drill, Screw Drivers, Allen Wrench Set, and for when all else fails…duct tape *Cause eff it!!*
- A trustworthy mechanic
- An outlet to blow off stress and clear your mind (For me it’s running and recently playing my guitar)
- Family and Good Friends (No woman is an Island!)
What are your thoughts? Do you think the media portrays a realistic image of an “independent woman”? What do you think is missing? What advice do you have for all the independent ladies out there?? 🙂