Independence is defined as: Freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.
As political as that word may seem, my reason for bringing up the overly loose term i to talk about my position in the world today as a woman, and most importantly, a single parent.
Albert Einstein once said, “If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.”
Marcel Pagnol also said, “The
reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the
past better than it was, the present worse than it is, and the future
less resolved than it will be.” (he was a French novelist, filmmaker, and playwright)
But Brittany, they are talking about happiness! DUH.
Well, I say to you, to be independent, IS to be happy. Happiness - not only with your position, your attitude, your outlook, your job, your family, your friends, your goals...BUT yes, yourself and life.
However, if you are going to START reading, I suggest you read all the way through, I tend to give multiple examples before I get to my main topics. They are relevant, and do give background to my endless thought processes.
During my younger years, I needed the attention from the opposite sex. I needed to feel like I was worth something to someone else other than my family, no matter how much they loved me. I had traumatic Junior High years (6-8). Not only did I develop earlier than most of my peers, the "friends" I thought I had growing up, turned their backs on me, I apparently wasn't "cool" enough in 6th grade. I was an awkward, curly haired, socially hesitant 12-year old. That really kicked my self-esteem into the lowest gear. Because, not only was I attempting to fit in by creating my own styles, I was being laughed at in the process! I remember one instance where I thought it would be neat to wear my hair half up on both sides of my head...well, when I went to school, everyone laughed and said I was trying to copy Britney Spears. You remember the infamous: Hit Me Baby One More Time, video. *eye roll* Not only did this chick have my name, but she botched the spelling horrendously. Don't laugh. It WAS the 90's. And what's even worse, I didn't even listen to Britney Spears, so how could I have imitated her? BAH HUMBUG...somebody probably should have hit her when she asked to knock some sense into her.
I was a terribly dependent teenager, and it carried over into college. For those of you who have experienced the pain of low self-esteem, it's brutal, is it not? I don't think I went more than a month without having a boyfriend. The pleasure I got from having a boyfriend was worth more than the impact it was having on my health, emotionally and mentally, not to mention physically. I partied hard and I broke a lot of hearts...including my own on several occasions.
It wasn't until up to my last "real relationship" that I realized I was on the track to ultimate destruction. It was becoming overly additive and abusive. I was drinking heavily and our fights were on borderline psychotic. The person I was involved with was manipulative and deceptive, controlling and victimizing. Everything that happened to him "wasn't his fault"...it was everyone else around him. But then my life changed.
On June 7, 2010 I found out I was pregnant. Wow. Big eye opener. Unfortunately, it wasn't the "happy occasion" I had always dreamed, being married to a loving spouse, and being cheerful that we had created a new bundle of joy. Nope. I was devastated. I didn't want to be attached to the other, and I certainly knew that I was in no position to take care of a baby. My struggles through this trying time were very real, but that is for another blog.
Flash forward 9 months later. I have a beautiful baby boy, weighing in at 7'3, just perfect. I had agreed with the "other" that he could be a part of my child's life, but that I was not going to marry him. Shocked, he persisted.
NO, NO, NO!!!! I WILL NOT MARRY YOU!! Personally, I wanted nothing to do with him, and I made my feelings very clear. My son had become my priority, and I did not feel that this "other" would be a healthy role model. Therefore, I distanced myself from the "other", and made sure that all my efforts were on creating a healthy and positive environment for my son. The "other" could only speak directly through my parents, especially when visiting. This may seem harsh to many of you reading. However, it really wasn't. For you see, if I let down my guard, the "other" would find a way to manipulate and deceive me into thinking I was nothing without him, that I needed him, and that I could not live without him in my life. As a new mommy, continuing low self-esteem, worry, and stress is not something that helps your child feel safe and happy.
So, my ultimate trek to building an independent life outside of relationships commenced. On Father's Day, 2011, is when the "other" left for good, walked right out my parent's front door and we never heard nor saw him ever again. I don't get support, and that is something I would not change for the most money in the world.
Now, back to topic. Independence. The movie scene about Independence from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, about Rudolph and Hermey the Elf need to be IN-DE-PEN-DENT echo in the back of my head every time I think of the word. Good memories...
Anyway, I have worked and strove to obtain my independence for the past three years. While I am not completely there in all aspects, I am there in the most important. I provide and take of my son through all of the ups and downs that life has thrown strong-handedly at me since I found out I was pregnant with him. Finishing off my Masters degree was a large obstacle as a single-parent with a newborn. I have clothed, fed, and provided shelter for my child despite the lack of monetary gain through countless working hours as a substitute teacher, a paraprofessional, and unemployed. Granted, I do have an amazing family that keeps rooting for my success, my son has been solely my responsibility, along with my bills, and my endeavors to find a job.
I also do not feel the need to be in a relationship, but more so, would welcome the opportunity under the right circumstances. I tried dating. I tried the websites who attempted to guarantee finding your "soulmate". I say...BLUH! It's probably sickening to think about the money I spent on those websites, most of the time only to be placed in a state of desperate need for someone to become compatible with. Another topic for another day, "soulmates": Is life really that cruel to pre-destin only ONE person for each of us?
However, I am so set in my ways with the comfortably, self-sufficient lifestyle I have attained, that I am not sure anyone would fit into my routine. I have picked up painting and writing solely at night, that I don't think about the possibility of someone crowding my already tiny living room space, and taking over my remote. I have always had the notion that I would get along with a male clone of myself, but then I realize I would drive myself crazy.
This is a HUGE step in my life. I went from being the "pre-adolescent, Britney Spears supposed wannabe, self-critical" sop to an independent, single mom, with dreams and aspirations that are feasibly obtainable through a given amount of time and dedication.
Yes, I am still single. I do get a bit jealous of friends who supposedly "have it all" with their marriages and children, popping them out one by one, but the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Who knows who is wishing they were in my position? The woman with the perfect child, who is strong-willed, independent, enjoys painting and writing, and did not settle for the ass who impregnated me. *BIG SMILE* Don't get me wrong, if I found a suitable mate, I would take advantage of a healthy relationship, while still displaying my need for the independence I victoriously grasped after so many wasteful years of broken hearts, addiction, and abuse.
So I take the well-spoken words of Albert Einstein to heart and say, "Yes, I have tied my happy to a goal, while being happy with the beautiful son I have been given." Despite the fact that he thinks he need multitudes of attention, I am still able to paint, write, and apply to a PhD Art History program at a notable school.
I also take to heart the words of Pagnol, in which I respond with, "Yes, I did see my past better than it was, the present situation of unemployment worse than I should, and my future plans less resolved than I actually have in mind." For I KNOW my past relationships and dependency was terrible; I KNOW that my current situation will pass and someone will see my potential to work hard, and eventually hire me; and I KNOW I will continue to work toward my goal at obtaining my PhD, even if I don't get accepted the first time (even though I pray every day that I DO get accepted the first time around!).
However, the biggest reminder of my blessings in my son. I know I need to be capable mentally and emotionally to provide him with the best childhood he can have. Whether that will always be by myself as the sole parent, or I do meet someone while he is young. It does not burden me either way. I have continuously tried to not let stress, worry, or depression fester and cloud my judgment of how much I love my life.
So am I ultimately independent? I am with my life and myself. Everything else will someday mimic in success.
Use a spectrum of colors in your life. Painting each aspect with the loveliest of colors. For it is only when you behold the visually splendorous depiction of your hard work, can you see no more room for worry and strife.