Taking a brief hiatus from travel posts to talk about something that's been bugging me recently... Comment with your thoughts if you're so inclined!
I have always been an independent person. From a very young age I preferred reading books to go shopping with friends, for example. I’ve never taken well to people putting words in my mouth, telling me how to behave, or trying to fit me in a box of what a lady should be. It only took one controlling relationship for me to realize that I needed to be careful about the kind of person I’d commit myself to.
Recently, I’ve noticed a trend in online news and lifestyle sources. Let me be clear. I LOVE reading articles and ‘listacles' on lifestyle sites, and probably spend way too much time perusing them. But nevertheless, this trend, while well-intentioned, has moved into shaming women who don’t want the same things as the writer does for her own life.
You know the pieces I’m talking about. The “Reasons to Not Tie Down an Independent Woman,” types. Or, the more recently published "Don’t Settle: 8 Things Traveling Does That A Boyfriend Never Could.”
As if it’s not completely obvious by now, I love traveling. It’s what I fully intend to spend the vast majority of my income on for the first part of my adult life. My most recent trip has helped me think in new ways, understand the world more fully, and start to overcome what at times has been crippling anxiety from PTSD. And I did all of those things while in a committed, longterm relationship. Crazy. I know.
The problem with the growth of these kinds of articles, is that they assume that you can’t have both. They assume that no partner would ever let you be who you want to be and do what you want to do. They disregard the fact that you can travel the world alone, or with friends or family, and still be in a relationship.
This growing hatred of relationships has signaled a clear misunderstanding these writers have about independent women: that they have to be single.
There is nothing wrong with being single. There’s also nothing wrong with being committed to another person. Both can lead to personal growth, new lessons, and a fulfilling life. What matters is finding what works best for you. And finding a partner who supports your independence, if you choose to have one.
The world is hard enough for women who chose to blaze their own path. Let’s not get bogged down in trivial qualifiers of what personal choices someone makes that determine whether or not they’re independent. Chances are, if you feel free, you are.