Independence: 3 types of independence women must achieve

It's been a while since I've written a post for Alphabet Issues. The last one was in... MARCH 2019?

Well, we may have marched on into a new year, but I will be picking this up again today, AND with one of my favourite topics: INDEPENDENCE.

Especially, women AND their independence.

Hey women reading this, I hope you are striving to be as independent as you possibly can, because being in that position is The Bomb.


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Now, I am very much of the opinion that every member of the entire human race needs to focus on being as independent as possible.

When I say independent, I do not mean the type of independent where you go off to live on a secluded island and hunt your food and water source by yourself independent.

The type of independent that I think everyone should strive for, is to reach a status where you do not have to depend on, beg, or lower yourself in any way to anyone else to live a decent life.

Whatever your definition of the phrase "a decent life" is - whether you want a simple life or one that is filled with decadence and recognition - you should at least be able to reasonably and adequately feed, clothe, shelter, and love yourself (and your life) with your own capabilities for the rest of your life.

When I break the word 'independence' down, I feel that there are 3 types of independence that women must be able to achieve on their own, in order to live the life they want to live. Here's what they are:

Financial Independence

This feels like the biggest no-brainer ever in our capitalist societies, but it has to be said. Money makes the world go round, and it makes your life so, so much easier if you have it.

I don't know why people immediately think that to be independent financially, you need to be a kazillionaire. It's like thinking you're hungry, so you can only eat buffets for once every hour, daily.

You don't have to be rich to achieve financial independence. You CAN work and still be financially independent. You have a continued source of income that supplements your lifestyle - that's as financially independent as you can get, especially if you're middle-class and don't have mummy and daddy to pay for you for the rest of your life.

I have been working for the past 8 years, and I consider myself fairly financially independent nowadays.

In fact, I am the sole breadwinner of my family. Granted, it's a small family and I can't afford anymore additions to my family if I am to continue being the sole breadwinner, BUT HEY, still the sole breadwinner at this point.


Ever since I started working, I have paid for all my trips overseas. I first started off with budget airplanes and invited myself to go stay with my friends in different countries.

As my income grew and I could afford nicer things, I consistently paid for my 5-star hotels, my expensive foods, my theme parks, my ryokan,  my camera, my gaming consoles, my laptop... I am now responsible for the household bills, and I work hard to consistently be able to pay them monthly.

Sure, work can drive me crazy, but I would be driven crazier by not having financial independence and having to rely on anyone else for the things *I* want. I definitely prefer this time in my life where no one can make snide comments about the way I want to live, unlike when I was studying, because I πŸ‘ AM πŸ‘ PAYING πŸ‘ FOR πŸ‘ IT πŸ‘MYSELF πŸ‘ AND πŸ‘ GIVING πŸ‘ MONEY πŸ‘TO πŸ‘ THE πŸ‘ LIFEGIVER πŸ‘ TOO.

The ultimate form of financial independence I want, is definitely COMPLETE financial independence for the rest of my life.

You know, where I have a stash of cash in my bank account which I can comfortably live on for the rest of my life, and I no longer have to deal with work problems to sustain myself.

THAT IS THE DREAM.

Frankly, I don't think your earning power alone allows you to be financially independent. Your spending and saving habits account for a lot too in this area. Always look closely at your finances, and do prioritise paying off debt first, if you have any.

Also. πŸ’‍♀️ In case it is not obvious enough, choosing to get married lavishly/ to have kids is also part of the spending habits you need to take a good hard look at. If you can afford to do so, great! However, blaming your lack of financial independence on EXPENSIVE ACTIONS YOU CHOOSE TO TAKE should not happen.

Unpopular opinion: if you want to have kids, fine - but don't go around claiming that your kids make you poor. YOU πŸ‘ CHOSE πŸ‘ TO πŸ‘ HAVE πŸ‘ THEM πŸ‘ BUDGET πŸ‘FOR πŸ‘THEM. Don't guilt trip your kids by telling them that they're the reason you can't afford something - you should have afforded some pregnancy prevention measures back in the day, then.

The truth is, for the majority of us, the dream of "being financially independent" comes with sacrifices in certain areas of life. As I type this, it is the 3rd weekend of 2020. For the 1st weekend of 2020, I spent it in Bali.

For the 2nd and 3rd weekend? I'm at home, utilising the electricity I pay for, typing on the laptop I paid for, researching stuff on the Internet that I also pay for.

You guys know what I don't do when I choose to spend my weekends at home?

Spend additional money.


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I have lived my life like this throughout my 20s, slowly and surely upgrading my life as I aim to earn more each year.

Sure, you can accuse me of being boring, but the feeling of security I get knowing that I am sticking to my financial budget, and not having debt-related anxiety?

Priceless.

Sometimes people think I'm very boring, but I would rather be thought of as boring than to be in debt just because I want people to think I'm exciting.

That's stupid.

What I do know is that I also have plenty of good memories AND good friends from my 20s. For example, cycling around an island in Australia chasing after quokkas (which I planned AND budgeted for, thank you very much).

In short, not having to worry about money is a great way to be the truly fabulous independent woman you are.

Emotional Independence

If you are not a young teenager/ adult whose brain is addled by puberty-related hormones, you are perfectly capable of being emotionally independent... now, if you choose to.


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Emotional independence DOES NOT MEAN thinking things like "I don't need a man" or the like, so get that out of your mind right now.

It means "I would like to meet someone perfect for me, but I know I am perfectly capable to be on my own as well". This line of thinking should be applied to all types of relationships you have.

To be truly emotional independent, your emotions should not be tied to the thoughts or actions of another person.

 You can be AFFECTED, sure, but you should never be DEFEATED.

Example:

If someone you like suddenly stops talking to you, you don't analyse why or how or wonder what's wrong with you. You can get angry and mopey for a while, but you CANNOT allow this action of another person to stop you from living your life... or for you to beg for their attention, to change if they would turn back, and etc.

You still eat, drink, shower, work, and so on.

Most of all, you know deep in your heart that you are a fabulous person (please note difference between confident and arrogance, though).You accept that sometimes things just don't work out, no matter who it is.

You move on from toxic friends and family, colleagues and workplaces who don't appreciate you, and men/ women who don't show you that they truly want you in your life.

You do this without ever questioning your worth in life. You don't question your value and worth in life, because you know inherently that you are valuable and worthy of basic human courtesy.

This, my dear readers, is just one of the ways of how you achieve emotional independence.



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Always attempt to live your best life, no matter what other people say or do, and never beg for them to come back. The ones who truly appreciate you will show you that they want you in their lives, anyway, and these are the people to focus on.

Bodily Autonomy

Last, but not least, and extremely important to bring up, is knowing and embodiying the independence of "bodily autonomy".

I come from a culture and society that is always telling women how to look, what to do, bla bla bla.

I just want to say.

IF YOU ARE AN ADULT WOMAN, NO ONE ELSE GETS TO DECIDE WHAT YOU WANT TO DO WITH YOUR BODY.

You want to get a tattoo/ body piercing/ dye your hair? You want to stuff your face with food and *gasp* run the risk of being fat? You want to drink/ smoke? You want to go somewhere people don't think it's right for young women to be at? You want to wear cute dresses that are *double gasp* short, or show a little cleavage?


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Just always remember to be responsible/ claim responsibility for your bodily choices that you made yourself, and it's all good.

If someone wants to make snide commentary or assault you on your bodily choices, that's the choice THEY made, and that's on them.

Don't let them stop you from what you choose to do responsibly i.e. you are responsible for the choice to go out naked if you want to and run the risk of being arrested for public indecency, but you are STILL not the one at fault if someone assaults you for it. They should have just called the police because, well, you violated public indecency laws. Your being naked/ drunk does not give anyone the right to ASSAULT you.

Granted, I find this one the hardest to achieve out of all the 3 types of independence I strive for. The first two, I can do with the power of improving my determination, skills, and mindset.

The 3rd, however, is still at least dependent on society as a whole. Malaysian society may not be one where women need male escorts just to leave the housing compound, but it certainly is a victim-blaming, judgmental one all the same.

"What clothes was she wearing? Why she go a man's place alone? How come she was out so late at night? That's why lah!" 

These commentary are so automatic when something tragic befalls a woman, I stop myself from looking at the comments on the article detailing the tragedy, or discussing the tragedy with certain people. I am already angry enough on a daily basis, thanks.

Still, I try with this.

I suppose my biggest advancement in this area is no longer tying my self-worth to my weight, the way I have in my teens and early 20s.

I eat what I want, and I work out hard. Both make me happy, and I do not feel pressured to look a certain way just to reach Asian society's conventional standards of beauty (surprise, I hit almost none of these standards πŸ’πŸ»).


As I grow older, I aim to maintain and achieve more independence to live the life I want to live. The joy that has come from being able to look after myself in most aspects of my wants and needs has been p-r-e-t-t-y amazing, and I definitely want it to continue.

I hope you will join me.

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