“I set my goal. And that goal was Independence.”
During one of her interviews that I watched years ago, Beyonce said this. And although I don’t remember which interview it was, and who was interviewing her, and what she was wearing and all of that, I will never forget those words. Not because they inspired me at that time- but quite frankly, they scared me. I thought to myself, did I have the courage to set a goal as… um, scary as independence? I didn’t.
Independence meant to be able to stand on your own two feet. It means being able to buy your own clothes, pay your own bills, cook your own food, do your own laundry, clean your own house. It also means being able to care for those who depend on you, to look out for your loved ones both financially and emotionally and physically. It means earning your right to have a say and have an opinion. It means work, work, work. Work – so that no one, no where can tell you what to do. No one, no where is the boss of you. You are the boss of you. And that’s the prize, that’s the amazing silver lining to being independent.
That’s what independence means.
For most women in India, ‘independence” is not really an expected goal. Family and society expect their daughters to think more along the lines of – ‘You can study, and you can work, but if you don’t want to, it’s alright, we can find a nice boy for you, rich, well-settled, and we can get you married off.’ I personally have always wanted to study, I always saw myself working. But it didn’t hit me until I watched that interview – that somewhere, back in my mind, this kind of thought hung around like a safety net. Oh my God, was I ashamed of myself. Not to mention supremely embarrassed – for someone who went around touting women’s equality and all of that. These were the questions I asked myself:
If I was all alone – if I was just me, what was my worth? What could I do to survive?
Would I even be able to do that – to survive?
From that day it was a journey. I opened myself to the possibility of being all alone – and being completely self-sufficient. Setting your goal as independence needs a lot of strength and courage, it really does, because it literally means that you can’t depend on anyone else. It’s just you.
I have nothing against women or men who decide to marry and stay at home while their partner earns. That’s their choice, and I respect that. But it’s not like that for me.
I know now, for a fact that I want to be independent.
And I’m still learning how hard that is to achieve, especially when you are nineteen years old like I am, and still have to depend on your parents to put you through college and pay for you and everything. But I tell myself now that I will get to it one day, and I hope I do.
And now here’s a Beyonce gif to thank you for reading through my philosophical rant. I’m done.