While lying in my bed earlier this evening, I saw a tweet that I nearly retweeted until I saw it had already been retweeted over 400 times. Just to spite it (the tweet, like it has feelings or something), I didn’t partake. Also, because I’d rather help out the little people rather than some woman who gets 400 retweets for a mildly clever and poorly punctuated tweet. Bitch.
I can’t remember the exact phrase of it, and it’s too far back in the day’s tweeting history to check, but it said something like, “I’m a woman. I don’t know what I want, but I can be mad anyway.” And while that probably sounds psychotic to most men, I’m sure it makes a lot of sense to women. It’s a good thing that I don’t write a political or advice blog, because I’m sure feminists would be all over me for going on about this, but whatever. With all of the other personal details I’ve shared on this, I shouldn’t have any problem admitting that I spend a great deal of time not knowing what I want.
This point is moot though, because for right now at least, I think I do know what I want: I want to know that I don’t have to depend on someone else. I started seeing someone a few weeks ago, and I’ve decided to try this new thing where the guy in my life isn’t the single most important thing in my life. Fascinating concept, right? I’m excited to try this new thing out. I’ve spent a decent amount of time on my own. I’ve finally discovered the peace that comes in the absence of other people. The sort of peace that comes when drunk cleaning your apartment and dressing up your piggy bank like Walter White, writing snippets to your 21-year old self, decoupaging Vonnegut quotes, and experiencing the unique horror that arises from OkCupid messages and consequent awkward dates.
I’m not going to claim that I enjoyed every moment of this solitary period, but I know that it made me a stronger person. It forced me to examine myself, reevaluate my priorities, solidify my goals, establish a career, and see myself as an individual.
But this new-found independence comes with its own setbacks. For instance, now that I’m sort of seeing someone, I don’t particularly know how to handle the fact that he’s willing to bring me whatever I need when I’m sick. So instead of telling him I could go for some homestyle chicken dumpling soup, cuddles, and rewatching four episodes of Breaking Bad, I heat up a can of soup, turn on a heating pad, and watch Netflix on my own. Of course, an episode in, I discovered that I did sort of want him there, but it was past the point of a reasonable request, so I didn’t tell him.
How bizarre is that? I’ve spent the better part of six months aching for someone to be there for me, and now that I have someone willing to do that, I’m like, “Nah, I got this.” I’ve gotten used to taking care of myself and I’m not quite ready to give that up. Call it pride or self-preservation, it amounts to the same thing: me, fairly content on my own. I think it’s just me not wanting him to see me vulnerable like this. By vulnerable, I mean sick and terribly whiny. So far, I’ve been able to present myself with semi-styled hair and matching outfits. I don’t want to destroy the illusion that I’m consistently lovely by him seeing me in pajama pants and a ratty college sweatshirt. Since he reads this, I’ll just let him imagine it. With any luck, the image is better than reality.
What I’m trying to get at is that I think I’ve always struggled maintaining my sense of self while dating. Instead of seeing myself as just Ashley, I tend to see myself as Ashley in relation to X. By acknowledging that it’s unreasonable for him to drive a half hour to bring me soup when I could spend 90 seconds heating up a can of Healthy Choice, I’m asserting that I’m not the kind of girl who needs to be taken care of constantly.
I think that’s what Destiny’s Child was talking about in that Independent Women song, right? The shoes on my feet – I bought them, the soup that I eat – I heat it.
It’s all the same.