I used to think being a kept woman was the dream.
Hell no, I didn’t want to pay my own way, because I didn’t believe I needed to.
Man goes out to work, while I stay home and do whatever I please. Get married, have babies, and live happily ever after.
The word “kept” didn’t tip me off.
And I don’t know if it’s me who has changed, or if I’ve always been this way but was unaware of it, or in resistance, or blind sighted by my mother’s words and template.
For a (very) short while in our relationship, we decided my partner would get a “day job” which would take care of both of us financially; and allow me the time and space to build and grow my business.
He was going out to work each morning, like many men do, and kissing me goodbye.
And I wasn’t prepared for how icky it made me feel.
It created a weird dynamic in our relationship, at least it did for me. I was left feeling kind of useless, and stuck, and small. Of course, I was incredibly grateful for the time it gave me to focus on doing what I love, and what I know I came here to do; but this came at a price.
My confidence, and my peace of mind.
What would I do if our relationship began to go south?
I should be able to take care of myself. No, I need to be able to take care of myself.
And I also felt guilty. What about his dreams and his desires? He was sacrificing what he wanted for both of us; and while that was a beautiful thing for him to do, it didn’t seem fair.
The desire to pay my own way became very apparent. It was what I needed to feel in control of my life, and remain empowered in my daily choices.
And I’m so thankful this happened sooner rather than later. Before I rushed into marriage and kids without fully understanding what I would be stepping into.
I don’t want to ask someone if it’s okay to spend money on something I need or want.
I don’t want to be financially propped up by someone else; unable to pay my own way.
I don’t want to ever feel trapped in a relationship, simply because I can’t afford to leave or survive on my own.
This makes me feel like a child, in a grown woman’s body.
The beauty of adulthood is that you’re meant to be free, right?
You’re meant to be able to do what you want, buy what you want, go where you please, eat what you like whenever you crave it, be with people you choose to be with, and manage your money on your terms. You don’t have to ask if it’s okay, or bargain, or justify your choices.
The problem is, I think too many of us never got the memo.
We watched our mother being financially supported by our father. We were told to forget about our dreams and goals and go find a rich man instead; that’ll solve all your problems. We were never taught about the importance of paying your own way, or how to make money; while our male peers were.
And this hasn’t benefitted any of us. Women feel trapped and financially insecure, while men carry the burden of making money single-handedly on their shoulders. Women feel helpless, while men feel pressured.
And this cycle won’t end until we consciously choose to do things differently.
I always want to be able to pay my own way. That doesn’t mean I’ll close myself to receiving, but it does mean that I’m able to fully support myself.
It means I can make empowered choices with money, and walk away from a relationship tomorrow if I want to, without fear of being able to survive.
And we should all have this freedom.