Monday, September 24, 2007

This is Not an Anthem

I consider myself to be a liberated woman.

I mean, the only way I'd ever burn a bra is if one accidentally caught fire on my curling iron but I've read Betty Friedan and Judith Butler and Bitch magazine. I can rock high heels and lipstick with the best of them but I've traveled by myself and I've lived by myself and I've spent more of my adult life single than partnered because I don't want to settle.

At brunch with a friend this weekend, I heard myself chant that familiar refrain: "I'd rather be by myself than with the wrong person." I expected her to agree but she surprised me by admitting that her last relationship caused her to question her commitment to that philosophy.

After taking a step back, I realized that she was right. As a single woman with no real prospects, it's easy for me to look at the unhealthy relationships of others and say that I'm better off but what happens when I'm in an unhealthy relationship of my own? I know so many strong, amazing women who, in the context of a relationship or a potential relationship, will put up with the most outrageous bullshit and I can't say that I'm entirely immune to this condition.

Sasha told me about a conversation she recently overheard on the street. A woman was complaining to her friend about her relationship problems and the friend responded frankly, "Hey, at least you got a man."

At least you've got a man.

At the end of the day, is that what it's all about? I've been financially independent for three years, I've backpacked across foreign continents by myself, I know how to change a light bulb and catch a spider and refill the air in my tires. I'm in law school. I'm my own knight in shining armor, why should I need a man to validate me?

But there it is. I had a moment this summer in a train station somewhere in Eastern Europe, lost and alone and rain-soaked, when I realized... I can't do this alone. Life is hard and I know I can kick ass but I can kick even more ass if I have someone to hold my purse.


Bennett said...

To quote Positive K and that seminal musical classic,
"What's your man got to do with me?"

Basically, go get what you want and define your relationships for yourself. Bitch mag has a lot of good theory; it's putting into practice that can be tricky.

In conclusion, do not regret your strength, power and awesomeness. Revel in it, and, I have to believe, you'll find someone who will revel in it with you.

Nicky said...


Maroon Memoirs said...

Why do I feel like I have only 3 things I ever say to people?

Men are good, and I am a fan of mine, but I think the real point here is that you SHOULDN'T be alone. That doesn't mean settle. That means find a community to which you belong or want to belong and in whose welfare you can be bound up. I don't think life works too well otherwise, but again, we've had similar conversations before. And when I say "community," you know I don't mean some sort of lame-ass prefab "hip mamas who knit" kind of mess.

Just sayin'...

I miss you. Not coming to NYC in October, but we'll see each other.

Widow, by Lauren Kinsler said...

now I don't want to start anything, but I'm just not the biggest fan of Bitch like you all.

you guys know Venus Mag? LOVE IT, all about creative women.

anyways, i love this post, that was my point.

and this comment: In conclusion, do not regret your strength, power and awesomeness. Revel in it, and, I have to believe, you'll find someone who will revel in it with you.

Alex said...

Oh, I have no passionate feelings about Bitch, don't worry. I've never heard of Venus, but it sounds awesome.

Jennifer said...

You are SO fuck'n cuTe!

Nicky said...

i am a big fan of BUST myself, although personals didn't do too much for me.

I totally agree with maroon memoirs. I had this conversation twice last week. I think it's about being part of something. All I want in life at this moment is to be successful and fulfilled in my actions in life whether it be a career, a friendship or a relationship. I want to feel that there is mutual respect and that both friends, lovers, associates are better for the interaction.

It's been hard for me to find, and even harder when I see friends that are not better for their relationships.