- January 18, 2022
There’s nothing I value more than the time I spend by myself, in my space. A level of freedom is unlocked, that I never get to experience anywhere else. I dance. I sing, off-key of course. I leave things lying around for a while before my OCD kicks in. I make it okay for me to not do the dishes immediately. I allow an amount of mess that shows me that I don’t always have to be perfect. We were raised to be perfect, me and my siblings. Yet we’ve drifted too far off perfection into people who struggle to accept the imperfections at school, at work, and with our life in general.
The belief that women are mentally incapacitated
There are so many crippling beliefs that try to convince women that they need protection from life. Some cultures and religions even require women to travel only in the company of a male relative in the name of protection. Yet there is nothing more exhilarating for any woman, to unlock her own door and crush into her space, like travelling alone. Society believes that women need company. First a husband, then children. We grow up conditioned to need people, especially men, for protection, children, provision, and love.
In campus, there’s this one time we were on a class trip and we were trying to find the route to a particular Lake Naivasha shore. A female classmate was hands-on and alighted from the school bus at some point, to inquire. When she got back on and started directing the driver from the help she’d got, a male classmate stood up and shouted, “You are a woman, sit down bwana, stop talking too much” or something to that effect.
At that point, everyone turned to me, the class feminist. I had nothing to say. My mind was on how this ‘educated’ man thought and what I should expect of the rest of the society. A society that tries to silence women at every turn, stop them from being helpful to even themselves, let alone others.
We are always taking instructions from one person or the other, telling us the decisions we should make. Even doctors often discourage women who want to get a tubal ligation, from doing it. Nobody believes that we are smart enough to make any decision. How could we, when in most cultures, we are considered children even when we’re raising children? Society, in one of its many double standards, entrusts children into women’s care while criticizing nearly every decision they make for their children. We grow up under commands. Most of them involve how to be a proper woman. Things like how to sit, keep the house clean, keep ourselves clean, and how to laugh or sit like a lady.
We are prepared for a future in which we are appealing to men for them to choose us as wives. For that to happen, we have to be good women. Good women are not too opinionated, or controversial.
The increasing number of emancipated women
The current world is filled with women who are positively obsessed with their independence. They want to live their most authentic selves, regardless of whether that is appealing to society or not. However, very few of the spaces we are raised in, accommodate that authenticity. So we are branded tags, like men-user, as if men are tools of constructions, or sluts, or can’t-keep-a-man, again, as if men are pets that sit and stare as you leave the house without them.
It is pertinent for every woman who has even the slightest means, to emancipate herself from the control of society. The first and most important way to do that, of course, is education in whatever form and financial independence. Even so, the more important thing is getting your own space, however small. Living on your own teaches you that you are not as incapable as you have been made to believe. The sense of responsibility that comes with having to take care of yourself and your life, while it is exhausting, is extremely freeing. You learn that changing the bulb is not a masculine job. You learn that you can figure out how to hang up a poster or a frame on the wall. You might even buy the necessary tools such as nails, pliers, a hammer, or a nail gun.
What it is like being in your space
Living alone teaches you to be enough for yourself. To trust your cooking, to trust the decisions you make, not just in the choice of furniture but even the music you listen to. When you live alone, you confront yourself and question your beliefs because you have the space and the freedom to do that. You scrutinize what you wear using your own lenses of comfort.
We are conditioned to seek opinions on everything we do. Our careers, often, are what our parents wanted for us. Our spouses have to be agreeable to the larger society, and our friends too. We are so full of doubt, it is a miracle we have made it this far. In your space, however, you decide who comes in and who doesn’t. Physical emancipation allows you psychological emancipation that comes with the confidence of knowing that you are taking care of your shit and owe no one for it.
With that, you can be more purposeful in your decisions without feeling that you are letting someone down. You make mistakes and correct them without the scrutiny and judgments that you’d have encountered if you were living with family or sometimes even a roommate.
Warning: There is a certain addiction to freedom once you start living on your own. The dread of living with anyone else, be it a spouse or a roommate, forces you to work smarter than you ever have. Beware!
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