Wednesday, July 25, 2012
That Dreaded "N" Word...
No, not that one silly! As a single women who is strong and fiercely independent, I do my best to be as autonomous as a single woman can be. I've always been this way. Even as a young girl, I held down an after school job at a dance studio, simply because I didn't want to have to ask my mother for money. As an auntie, I am constantly encouraging my young nieces to do the same. If you want something, go after it. Be smart. Be strong. Be responsible. Be self-sufficient.
Do we as a society, condition our girls and young women in the same manner? I'm not just referring to money here. The messages are everywhere. Stay in school. Don't have sex. Don't get pregnant. Be smart. Be strong. Be responsible. Be self-sufficent. And while its all well-meaning, is it possible that its all to our determent? Is it possible that we are imparting to our young maidens not to "need?"
We've all seen the reports of mothers who freely give of themselves to their families and friends, putting their own needs last. Clothes need to be washed, dinner needs to be cooked, dishes need to be cleaned, and the kids need help with their homework. And after she's worked all day, and all the household tasks are complete her husband now wants to fulfill his sexual "needs." She probably won't communicate that she "needs" a bit of quiet time to herself, and a bubble bath was more along the lines of what she had in mind. Or if she does, then she'll feel guilty about taking time out for herself. So I have to ask the question... are we, the independent women of the world, perpetuating a dangerous cycle to give of ourselves never expecting to have our needs met in return?
Now in my professional life, there is no problem expressing the "needs" of the client to the team that will help me accomplish the goal. Or going to my Facebook page to ask a question because I "need" more information or a second opinion. But let me "need" more time with the guy I am dating, or "need" for someone to have compassion for a situation I am dealing with, and I can almost guarantee that I not going to ask for what I "need." To appear "needy" in a relationship is perceived as a "cardinal sin" and I'm just not going to do it. In my mind, to be "needy" translates into being helpless or powerless. I am way to strong and self-sufficient for that.
It's funny when you think about it... but men don't appear to have this problem. I hear them use the word quite frequently. And while they may not expect to get all of their "needs" fulfilled, the certainly don't hesitate to ask in spite of it. Whether it comes to work, play or romance, they ask for what they want, and don't think twice about the perception of appearing needy. Its almost as though they are conditioned to expect for their needs to be met. Who says men are not communicators?
Its ironic that men rely on women throughout their entire lives...first starting with their mothers and then moving on to their girlfriends and finally their wives. So where did the disconnect happen for many of us women? We were not conditioned to rely on our fathers in the same way?
So I guess I find the "need " to ask myself... at what point did I decide it was wrong to "need," rely on others or even ask for help? When did "need" translate into helplessness or powerless? And more importantly, is this the message that I want to relay to my nieces and all of the other young women who's paths I have crossed?
The older I get, the more I realize how complicated life can be. I've always understood the power of my words, and the importance of clear communication, but there are time when actions speak louder than words. The damage may have already been done, but I hope it's not too late to right the wrong... to "NEED" can be a good thing... and it's not the curse word it used to be.