“I am a strong, independent woman,” I repeated in whispers as I stared myself down in the bar bathroom.
I was holding a receipt with my name and number, preparing/forcing myself to walk, poised and confidently, out of the bathroom straight up to the guy sitting at the bar.
I am a strong, independent woman.
Eventually I handed the receipt to the guy who I haven’t seen since, but I did it. I took charge, I stuck out my hand and said the line my friend had rehearsed with me (the same friend who actually wrote my name and number on the receipt too, so in reality my only job was the delivery and I must have bombed it).
I am a strong, independent woman. Those words have been spoken more often than that night, and typically with more successful outcomes. Mostly, I’ve tried to convince myself I was this strong and independent woman in the process of renting my own apartment.
At first I thought it was no big deal, people do this all the time. People get jobs and get their own place – easy. Well it’s been quite a journey for me. Sometimes I think to myself, how have I gotten by all these years? How did I not know you have to sweep before you mop or what to do when something falls down the drain? Or the first time I saw mud on the floor and immediately thought “who tracked mud into my house.” …oh that must have been me. I’m finding out there’s certainly a learning curve.
I had to command myself to have confidence when I signed a year lease against my better commitment-phobe judgement, and then later that night when I sat in my room trying to pack up my life thinking – what did I just do?
The morning I moved I was wide awake, I couldn’t sleep. I played it off as excitement when really I was freaking out. Am I a strong, confident woman? Can I live alone? Every time I say this sentence that has become my mantra if you will, I imagine Emma Watson. She probably lives alone. She probably has no qualms giving out her number or choosing what color to paint her walls. She is the vision of woman power.
So in my head, I picture Emma (we’re on a first name basis in my imagination) ruling the world with grace and love and authority over her life. And if Emma can have this grace and love and authority, I can too.
One thing I’ve learned besides the obvious housekeeping chores and painting techniques, is that in order to take advantage of my life I need something else other than authority: humility.
Sure, I am a strong, independent woman, but I still can’t lift an entire couch by myself. I suddenly don’t know everything there is to know about utilities or setting up the internet. And I still had to call my mom to get recommendations on cleaning supplies. I am learning along the way that I cannot do it all.
I had this idea that I would do everything by myself, this is my apartment and I want to make the decisions, I don’t need help. I can hang pictures by myself and use power tools. I can carry bags of dirt up 30 stairs alone. I can rearrange everything in the house in the middle of the night only to put it back where it was.
But there will always be times when I need help from others.Strong, independent women need their friends and family too. I know I need mine. And I’m sure Emma needs hers.
I’m learning that seasons of growth almost always come hand in hand with seasons of humility. And that’s okay too.