I’m An Independent Woman Trying To Learn To Prioritize My Relationship
Growing up, I was taught one thing: be able to take care of yourself. My mom always emphasized that she never wanted me to have to depend on a man for anything. “Always have your own.” she would preach to me in our private motivational convos together.
Her message encouraged me to pursue not only two bachelor degrees, but a Master’s as well. I moved to New York from LA with the chip on my shoulder that anything I set my mind to, I could accomplish.
Unfortunately this mindset does not apply to matters of the heart. You can work all your life for worldly accolades, but there is nothing you can do to “earn” your way into commitment and family.
This realization hit me hard when I realized I wasn’t prioritizing the growth of my relationship. Granted, work is very important. I have sacrificed a lot for the career I enjoy today, and I would never want to do anything to compromise my ability to use my talents to their full potential.
But what was I doing all this work for? It ultimately wasn’t just for me and my “awards wall,” it was to be able to share my wealth with my family, my partner and my future kids. I remember when I first told my mama I was ready to have kids, and she said, softly, “I just don’t want you to not accomplish your dreams.” But at almost 30, I have hit a lot of the marks I set for myself. I’ve flown all over the world, interviewed Oprah, hosted digital shows, and wrote cover stories for print magazines. I am proud of my work. And I’ve also been blessed with the opportunity to foster and grow this connection with my significant other over the past year and a half. But within this blessing, I have discovered my shortcomings. I realized my relationship time deposits hadn’t been as hefty as my work time deposits.
I finally understand that just the little things, like slowing down to have conversation before rushing to the office, made a difference in my partner feeling seen, heard, and appreciated.
For a lot of Black women, we weren’t raised to make that time. For good reason, our mothers fed us the narrative that we had to come first in order to survive and thrive–it’s a perspective rooted in generation after generation of abuse and misuse, so I get it.
But what happens when a “good one” comes into your life, and you’re unable to loosen up the reigns of your life enough to let the relationship breathe, stretch and bloom?
Balance is always the key, but I’m learning my scale may have been tipped for years in the career direction, and I’m trying to even out the weight.