3.03.2010

Being Independent Does Not Mean that We Don't Still Need Our Men

I've noticed a trend over the past few months, though I'm sure it's gone on longer than that, regarding the plight of the independent woman in a relationship, and how she and her independence can make her man or any man feel unneeded. Like I've always said, I will be the first to admit that I do not know anything about boys and girls, but this is my take on it.

In our society, so many seem to quantify necessity based on an ability to financially sustain a partner, family, or lifestyle. When really, we need to take a step back and realize that needs go far beyond and are far greater than who is or can pay for what. I'm not taking to task anyone, male or female, but I'd like to use a very personal story to illustrate how what a (n independent) woman needs from her man.

MY STORY
For all intent and purposes, one could label me an independent woman. I won't go into the list of things that I have/do that qualifies me as such because that is silly. I have always said that independence is like beauty, and for someone to walk around screaming, "I'm independent" is as ridiculous as someone walking around saying, "Look at me; I'm beautiful." It's okay to know who and what you are, but it is not always necessary to discuss it.

Nearly two years ago, my family discovered that my father was really very sick. Now my older sister is married and my younger sister was in a very long term relationship at the time, and they both had the shoulder of their sig others on which they could cry. During that time I'd played the role of a typical career-driven chick who focused only on doing what she needed to do to be comfortable knowing she'd not have to hustle for anything since it seemed as though I was destined to be single anyway. I'd just come out of a very healthy relationship which came to an unfortunate end mysteriously when I was offered my present job. The point being, when I needed an emotional outlet, a non-familial shoulder to cry on, I was lacking.

Now do not misunderstand, I have amazing friends, and I knew that I could call any one of them at any time day or night and they would be there to support me. But what I was accustomed to growing up was being able to look to my father for emotional support. I, being fortunate enough to have grown up having one of the most amazing men in history as a father, was used to being able to go to a strong man when I needed to be rescued emotionally. However, given his current state, he could not be my emotional outlet. My sisters, mom and I determined that it was our turn to support him as he'd supported us our entire lives.

Someone once told me that two of the hardest things to go through are the death of a loved one, and caring for a very sick loved one. Little did I know that I was at a point where I was about to deal with both, in conjunction with my very sick father being moved from his home because, though the family was already struggling with the declining health of our patriarch, Hurricane Ike showed no mercy and ravished the house that he'd worked to provide for his family.

Over the course of the most torturous 4.5 months of my life I found myself finding solace in a parking lot. While my sister had her husband to support her, and my younger sister her amazing boyfriend, all I could do was drive. I'd end up in a parking lot scrolling through my cell phone looking for someone to call. I'd need to cry, and what I really needed was a shoulder, what I really needed was someone to wrap their arms around me, and wipe the tears from my eyes as they'd come. I needed someone to let me just snot all over them. I needed someone to listen as a I challenged and questioned God and his omnipotence. And I didn't need just someone, I needed and wanted someone who too knew my father. I needed someone who understood why me being mad at God was different from every other person in the world being mad at God when their loved-ones become terminally ill. I needed someone who knew that man that I called daddy, because he would then know that what I needed was not someone who could help me with the house that I was having built at the time, or my car, or my bills. He would know that what I needed all I needed was someone to be there for me, and that need was greater than any financial support I could ever ask for.

So as I sat in the parking lot I scrolled for names of men who knew my father, there were about 4 guys that I could call, and would let me cry to them. 4 guys who knew my father, and understood my frustration, and my plight. And I wanted to talk to guys, there is a calmness that I felt like I could get from the depth of a male's voice; I could pretend that voice loved me like my daddy loved me. Though those 4 guys were there to listen when I called, not one of them (for one reason or another) came to daddy's service when the time came when I needed them then.

Am I independent? Yeah I guess... who cares. But I wish above all else that I had someone I could depend on in a situation like that, and not even just those situations, situations where I am emotionally spent even if it's just a bad day at work, a tough time with the kids (future kids obviously). That need isn't just for the bad times, but the good times as well. I need someone that I know who is always going to be there to rejoice with me, to celebrate with me, and those are needs that just cannot be fulfilled with money.

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