Never accepting help from anyone, paying my way every time and never “needing” anyone, I have always liked to think of myself as the epitome of Miss Independent. Having travelled the world, been to university and moved to a new city, amongst other things, I have never needed the assistance, protection, organisational skills or map reading of a man. I have hammered in my own nails, albeit for wonky mirrors and pictures, and I know how to change a light bulb; a complete denial of the female stereotype. I have utilised my intuition in order to feel safe in situations and I have made my own choices in directions without needing the bodyguard protection of the opposite gender. Yet now I face a struggle.
After gaining pleasure from being the only one of my friends not tied down to a man, I ended up getting a boyfriend. Easing myself gently into the relationship and telling myself that with my track record, it probably would not last long, it has now been nearly three years and to be perfectly honest, I am perfectly happy.
So the battle has commenced. Whilst the unconstrained me still reigns on inside, and I am still eager and willing to take on the challenges I did before, every time I do something, my head and heart have to fight like it’s 1066. I know that there is absolutely no logical reason as to why I cannot go and hunt tigers in Africa or move myself into an igloo for a month, yet now instead of grabbing my ice pick and heading to Heathrow with nothing but thoughts of adventure, my mind begins to worry about whether I will be able to function properly without my boyfriend. I now miss him if he goes away for more than one night and as for nails, I can still hammer them in, but why bother when I now have access to someone with a toolbox who actually enjoys the stimulating challenge of putting up shelves?!
For the girl who spent the three years of my degree focussing solely on feminism and the unfortunate plight of women throughout history, I am pretty angry with myself. I am currently re-reading ‘Jayne Eyre’, my favourite book, with a sense of guilt. What would Charlotte Bronte say if she knew I was writing this article?!
The truth is I think I was naïve. I thought I would never be that girl who came as a couple or contemplated my love for someone before deciding which path to take. I was never prepared for commitment and now it has jumped up and smacked me round the face like a monk banging a gong. I believe that becoming content lies in finding a happy medium. This would be somewhere between acceptance (of unfortunately falling in love) and remaining true to yourself (living life in relation to your terms and only making fair and respected compromises). All of this sounds straightforward on paper, yet is much more problematic when attempting to put it into practice. I think my head needs a rest, but for now, I can hear the ring of a bell. It must be time for round two hundred and forty six…