Why Can’t We Just Talk.

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My mood: defeated. But this is just temporary because I will move on, with or without an explanation.

My life, in all areas (personal & professional) seem to be a communication mess. Sometimes I feel like a lost soul, just looking for that one person who will just be honest and say what they feel, when they are feeling it, and allow me to do the same. I clearly haven’t found that yet – anywhere.

I honestly can’t comprehend why anyone would open a problem up and then just walk away from it. The most difficult part for me is when they return and want to pretend it’s not there. Like Pandora’s box was never opened.

At work, it’s the Human Resource part of my job. Employees come to me and can be, at times, so passive aggressive. It’s one of the main reasons I hate that part of my job. My main title is more in line with accounting. I like accounting. The numbers always balance in the end because – well, they have to. When the accounts don’t balance – there is always a reason why and you can always dig through and find it.

When it’s people, they can’t be bothered to dig through and find it. They don’t feel like they owe it to the other person to balance at the end.

The Boyfriend jumped my case last Sunday just before he got out of my car to leave on a train to go home (yes…we are still long distance…). Things were tense in the car, for reasons I’m not going to go into, but it was nothing to start a fight over. I needed to clear my head because the issue was weighing heavily on my mind and it was working overtime, thinking if he’s not getting some kind of thing from me he must be getting it somewhere else. So, to kind of shut off those thoughts and basically convince myself to believe him when he said he’s not – I turned up the radio. The compulsive thoughts that come in with OCD are sometimes so difficult to tune out, I literally have to drown them out somehow. So the music may have been a little loud – but by no means ear piercing (I’d have had it at that level with my kids in the car, with no concern). We got to the station and I turned off the radio so he and I could talk – he just lost it on me. Nothing I could say was right after that. He raised his voice about the radio, I apologized and tried to explain that I wasn’t doing it to piss him off, I needed the distraction. I tried telling him that he should have told me earlier – but then he said no matter what I would have been mad, that I’ve gotten mad at him before when he’s brought up the loudness of the radio (which is totally untrue). I told him he could have turned it down, and he basically told me that he was “to afraid” of the wrath. All over a freaking radio!!! Then he said that I am too critical and nothing he does is ever right. I told him that I needed some examples and that I’m sorry if he feels that way, but I don’t feel like I do that to him…but if I do, tell me how. He said I don’t appreciate the things he does for me, he said I will say things like “it’s nice, but next time do this”. I asked him if he wanted me to start lying to him. I told him that I am a very honest person and, if you ask me a question like “how do you really feel about {something}” I’m going to answer honestly and as constructively as possible.

That was what hurt the most though. I tried giving him an example of something this weekend that I was MORE than appreciative on – a kind gesture that practically brought me to tears, that I repeatedly thanked him for, and even shared with my family because it touched me so much – but it fell on deaf ears. Apparently at that time, all he could see is someone who takes for granted any kindness or effort he has put out.

One of the qualities that I pride myself on is gratitude. I know what I have in life and I appreciate where it all came from. Some of it is from my hard work, but a great deal has been through the love and support of my family and friends.

Here is where my snark-y side will come in. This is just a vent.

I feel there are quite a few times where I am not appreciated. I have gone out of my way to help. I have emotionally supported, financially assisted, and physically been there. This has been taken advantage of repeatedly, but I still do it. I am no martyr, I am no saint, and I don’t do it for recognition, but when I’m disrespected or my efforts aren’t appreciated, well I can’t help but to feel bitter.

I have done all of this in my relationships. I have also received this in my relationship from him as well, but it’s hurtful when it’s conveniently forgotten – all my compassion and affection that I’ve put into this. It seems to be forgotten all the times I bought train tickets to go up there and paid for stuff the entire weekend, because he was short. I have bought train tickets both ways as well (not just mine). I have gone out of my way every single holiday to make him smile – only to be let down because it was barely even recognized or appreciated in the past (he has gotten better about this, to be fair). I have gone above and beyond to thank him when he does the little things for me, and this I know for sure, because I want him to continue to do them now that he’s started and I figure if it didn’t occur to him to do them in the beginning of our relationship, I should appreciate that he does them now and make sure he knows it, so it continues…because I do deserve to be treated that way.

So now, to get through all of this and to be left in tears at the train station – hurting. For him to avoid the topic and not even offer an explanation – heartless. To try and pretend it didn’t happen and just carry on with normal conversation – cold. You can’t just yell at someone and hurt them, especially telling them that they are a bad person and over critical, then just expect them to recover without even discussing it with them.

Communication. Why is that so hard?

The other added part to this is the comment to me ‘I’m just under so much pressure. All these people keep expecting so much for me to move down here in just a few short months…’

No one is pressuring a choice like that. The few short months part is a lie. It’s been almost 2 years.

Come May 1st, changes will happen. Joyous like I want, or I’ll strong like I need if things don’t work out, I can’t sustain this.

The thing is – it could be so good. Everything could go so well if we could just…communicate.

My Faults.

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It’s so easy for me to blog how I’m feeling, without regard to my own faults. Some of these have become glaringly obvious, causing problems in my family and personal life.

I am still scared. I am so scared of being hurt again that I push away the people that really love me. I work so hard to find their faults and use those as weapons against them – not even thinking of my own. I use this as a distraction tactic – hoping that if I point out their faults first, they won’t be able to see how deeply faulted I am myself.

I am stubborn. I am hard headed. I have difficulty admitting when I am wrong. I expect others to own up to their faults and their mistakes, but I don’t hold myself to that same standard. That is immensely wrong and I am committed to working on that and correcting my wrongs.

I am pushy and bossy. I want things done my way and will get easily irritated when they are not. I need to realize that my way isn’t the “right” way and that others can do things just as well and end at the same result, just a different way.

I am still hurting and still mourn the man I married, even though I know that man doesn’t exist. I secretly blame myself and my faults for somehow driving that man away and losing him to alcohol. I also think that I look at those early “good” years with EX through rose colored glasses, because I’m afraid to admit that I was already overlooking the issues that were approaching – and then stayed too long in denial.

Most of all, I am heartbroken because my warpath has sincerely hurt someone in ways they didn’t deserve. I am beyond sorry and I’m not sure there is anyway I could regret my words and actions anymore than I do right now.

I Need a Break.

Toxic. It’s just toxic to me. I can’t pretend it’s okay, I can’t pretend I’m still happy and proud. I’m exhausted with not being happy and starting to feel like I’m ready to find happiness away from you. I’m exhausted with feeling taken for granted. I’m expected to just keep forgiving and forgetting, even getting criticized when I don’t reply as nice as you need or as supportive as you need, when all you’ve done is destruct our relationship – piece by piece and not taken into any consideration what I need.

I need a break.

You don’t even fight for us. You do your thing and then you cower and hide and expect me to fix it all. You appear to never feel remorse – you just do what you want and leave whatever wreckage behind. What you don’t realize is that little by little, you are chipping away at any chance you’ve ever had with me to have a decent relationship.

It’s becoming typical for you.

I Hate “Facebook Couples”.

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I saw this really funny blog (on Thought Catalog … which I still can’t get to reblog proper) and I wanted to share it. It was just a silly little post where someone had just asked random people what they hate about Facebook couples. It cracked me up, because it’s so true.

I randomly surveyed people around my campus and asked them to tell me the one thing they hate about Facebook couples.

1.

Stop posting couple selfies as if the last selfie of you kissing is so much different from the other twelve selfies of you kissing. Congratulations, you like to kiss each other like the majority of the other couples in America. (4 people)

2.

Stop arguing over Facebook and then making up over Facebook. Look up “privacy” in the dictionary. We don’t need to know all your business. Also, it just looks like you both love the drama. (5 people)

3.

Stop posting how nauseatingly happy you are with pictures and emotes. We get it, you love each other or at least you think you do. Some of us would like to be able to log on without you rubbing your happiness in our faces. Sample quotes from those I interviewed: “My boyfriend just died, but it’s so nice to be reminded every day that yours didn’t.” … “I like to make bets with our friends on how long until you can’t stand each other.” … “I know when I see posts like this, they’re only just starting out and don’t know each other.” (16 people)

4.

Your pet names for each other. Really? I get that you want to be original. You can’t use “honey” or “baby” or something like that. You have to be original and use some stupid variation of a common pet name and then post it all over the place as if that makes your relationship more valid. When I see, “My Hooney Booney,” or “Luv u bubee,” and I know it isn’t a damn typo, I want to V8 pop you. (3 people)

5.

Posting pictures of their text messages. Posting that message where he cleverly changed what you said into an expression of love is so boring and unoriginal. Keep your swooning to yourself. How many times can we see your conversations of you two saying you love each other without it getting old? (1 person)

6.

This is usually one-sided, but stop posting how much you love them on every single thing that has ANYTHING to do with them. They tagged the person you love in a picture? Why do you feel like you should say, “So cute. Love you so much!!! *ten emotes and hashtags*” (2 people)

7.

Celebrating anniversaries for stupid time periods. Really? A two-week anniversary? Your relationships tend not to last this long, do they? (7 people)

8.

Changing your relationship status every week because you break up every time you have a little spat. It gets old to write a fake sympathetic “Aww, what happened?” when it happens so often. (1 person)

9.

The ones who clearly flaunt their relationship because they know their ex can see it. Grow the hell up. You probably don’t even like that person you’re with. You just want to make your ex jealous. How do I know? How about the fact that you keep your ex on your list but when you make a post, you only post it when they’re online, you only post things after they’ve posted something, and to top it off, you put in the title, “So happy with someone new,” or “He/She was everything I needed. I’ve been looking at the wrong people for years.” (1 person)

10.

The kind who post about waiting for their significant other to come home every single night. I get they’re at work and you’re bored or lonely, but why do you have to post, “Waiting for my man to come home” every single night? (3 people)

11.

The ones who say other people are bitter because they’re sick of seeing these things. Honey, no one is jealous of you, we’re just sick of your high-school romance. We’re all adults here, and we’d just appreciate it if you didn’t revert back to being a teenager every time you get into a relationship. There’s nothing wrong with being happy, but there is something wrong with being an airhead. When you call someone bitter for being sick of your crap, it makes it seem like we can’t have an opposing opinion without being biased because of our own love life. (9 people)

Panic Weight.

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Totally unrelated…

I’ve hit my panic weight. I’m pretty sure you ladies know what weight I’m talking about. It’s that one number that, if you should hit, sends you into a tizzy and gets your butt into high gear to take control back.

I’m an emotional eater. I eat when I’m stressed. For various reasons (which are personal in the sense that I don’t want to disclose because they aren’t my issues – but they do wear on me a great deal) I’ve been majorly stress eating the past 6 months – and it shows.

Which brings up my issue of letting others issues seep into my life and take control.

There are days that I stress about situations that are not even my own, rather they affect loved ones. It’s okay for me to empathize, but it’s not okay to let it stress me out more than it actually stresses the person it’s happening to.

I need to let go and realize that the only thing I can control is myself. Today, I am taking that control back.

I was telling my dear friend, PLM about this, and she said that if I cared for myself with as much effort as I’ve taken to getting The Boyfriend  or EX on the right track in their lives (which she even said was a noble cause and that I shouldn’t even feel bad about that – supporting them) I’d be unstoppable. Of course, then she told me I should do it just in case, come next May, I’m back into the dating pool. LOL!

I don’t always put in the effort I do for others, into myself. I would go a thousand miles to make sure the things my kids need, the support they deserve, or whatever else was taken care of – yet here I am, neglecting my own feelings and body.

This stops today – not the supporting other people, but the not realizing that my needs and my own well being is just as important. I don’t have to sacrifice myself for others – especially those who don’t make any effort to be a part of my life in the same way.

I feel better and empowered just having written that. :-)

Love. You. Me.

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I want love. Not that storybook, happily ever after kind of crap where unicorns shoot rainbows out their a**es, but honest and real love. Not the cutesy couple that everyone adores on Facebook (because they are posting every damn detail about how in love they are) but the couple that lasts and, deep down, everyone knows why and is envious that their love is so strong, they don’t have to broadcast it to the world…their actions do.

I want to wake up knowing that I could get fired from my job, total my car, disfigure my face, and have my home burn down – and know you’ll still be there for me.

I don’t want to have to jump around or vie for your attention with anyone else. I want it to be just you and me. Period.

I want to know that I can have the worse day of my life, come home and wrongly take it out on you and you will forgive and love me just the same.

…and then not hold any of that against me.

I want forgiveness. Not “okay, I accept your apology” kind of forgiveness, but the kind of forgiveness where when I apologize, you say “what for?” and we move on.

I want passion. That deep, driving passion that is the force that drives you into my bed at night and makes all 20 of our toes curl.

Importantly, I want to give this all back to you in return.

I want you. I just don’t know if I have you.

Relationships.

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I am re-blogging this. It’s not necessarily how I feel about my relationship, but I won’t lie – there are some things in here I really identify with. It’s not about being with the wrong person, it’s about fearing you may be with someone who isn’t as in love with you as you are with them (or maybe isn’t capable of showing it how you need) but loving them so much, you are afraid to let go in case they are.

Re-blogged from Thought Catalog.

I want some sparks, dammit. I want to meet someone and have them be as undeniably crazy about me as I am about them. I don’t want to worry about their feelings for me or feel like I’m being annoying when I invite them out for a drink. I want to know. I want them to look me in the eyes and tell me they care for me and never have to worry that an hour wait between text message responses means anything more than they didn’t have their phone on them at the time.

I want to be swept off my feet. I want to be fucking wooed. I want someone to fight for me when I have doubts and remember that my favorite ice cream flavor is peppermint. I want Sundays curled up under blankets listening to the rain and arguing over whether to watch Breaking Bad or Luther. I want to have small arguments and slightly bigger arguments and be able to solve them all with a long, lingering kiss or a handwritten letter tucked in my bag to be discovered later in the work day. I want someone to remember all the details — to tease me about how I can’t caramelize onions because I’m impatient, how I couldn’t tie my shoes until the first grade, how I still call that one Who song “Teenage Wasteland.”

You’re so many things I’ve always wanted. You’re kind and thoughtful and gentle and smart but I feel so much like an afterthought. That being with me made sense so you did it. I don’t want to wonder at whether or not I can grab your hand or run my fingers through your hair. I’m tired of being the instigator. I’m tired of feeling so fucking desperate when you’re supposed to be mine and I am completely yours. What gives? Let me go if you don’t really care. Free me and stop half-assing this relationship because I’d rather be lonely and searching than be bound to someone by their own indifference. I was born for a great love. I can feel it. I know it. You most certainly were, too. Stop wasting both our time and rip this shit off like a band aid if you aren’t truly, genuinely, completely into me.

It felt so good for a moment. To know I wasn’t “on the market” anymore. I loved shutting down the booty calls. I loved telling my ex that I was in a relationship in response to a lewd late-night text message. And I liked you. I liked you so much. I feel like we’re cut from the same cloth, like we could have grown up together. You with your kindness and infinite reserves of friendship, your lack of judgment, your common sense. I was smitten. I would still be if it weren’t for my defenses going on red alert at the first sign of your disinterest. I’m trying not to think about how easy it is to be with you and that insane kiss in a crowded bar. I’m trying not to think about how you nice your arms feel, how right I thought they were. I’m trying so hard not to picture your smile or hear your laugh. I wanted to be done feeling like a silly little girl with a crush but now it seems I’m doomed to pluck petals off of daisies and strike through your name in never-ending rounds of MASH.

For a while there, I thought I’d grown out of this state of mind. It was nice for a minute to just bask in my own indifference. To shrug at rejection and spend Friday nights alone doing whatever the hell I wanted. But then you came along and made me think “well, this is awfully nice” and once again I was craving the companionship of another human being. I’m so worried that I’m right that you don’t care, that I am going to have to end this, that I am going to have to get used to my own solitude again. But I’d rather be alone and heartbroken than with someone who doesn’t see a future with me. I’d rather cry myself to sleep than wake up next to a man who doesn’t think he’s lucky to have drifted into dreamland with me in his arms. I think I deserve more than contented tolerance. I think you do, too.

I want someone who will hold me when I’m sad, will squeeze all the angst out of me in a tender embrace. I want someone who I can share my dark parts with, someone who won’t turn and run when I show the slightest sign of emotion. My darling, I thought that was you. Maybe I shouldn’t have. Maybe I got too excited too soon. It’s something I have a tendency to do and it’s shot the foot of even my most passionate relationships. I don’t think I understand this world and the social mechanisms of love because the dating practice of keeping one’s cards hidden has never made any sense to me. I want to put it all out there. This is me and this is why I’m fucked up and also, darling, I am so, so into you. And I want that honesty to beget more honesty. I want to be met with enthusiastic agreement or direct rejection. No timid reaches for my hand if you care. None of that fading away over the course of a few weeks if you don’t. Be honest about your feelings because I have been honest about mine.

Life is too short to be tepid. And it is too long to spend it with people you don’t completely adore. God knows I want to keep you in my life, that I want to continue this courtship. Because you really are a beautiful human being. Because I don’t think there’s a mean bone in your body and I find nothing sexier than true, genuine kindness. But if you really aren’t that into me, if you’ve continued to pursue this because you don’t want to break my heart, then I would consider it the truest kindness if you were just honest and ended it. Because I want sparks, dammit, and it takes two to really make them happen.

Goals.

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My grandmother passed away yesterday. While quite sad, it was also in many ways a relief. She had started to mentally go downhill a couple of years ago – dementia or Alzheimer’s, I’m really not sure which. She wasn’t really there, my grandma’s personality and memory was robbed. Her body, however, was still holding up just fine. She was in amazing condition for 91. Then 2 months ago, she became very ill and ended up in the hospital. They found cancer that had metastasized. This was a quick kind of cancer – the “get your affairs in order” kind…and it took her physically downhill the past 2 months, until yesterday morning when she drifted off to eternal sleep. No more pain and her memory is restored; I’m positive she is in heaven right now.

This was a reminder to me that life here on earth is finite. We are placed here by chance, live by our own decision, and are taken whenever it’s determined our time will be – mostly not by our own choice. It’s that middle part I want to focus on. The live by our own decision part.

We make a choice to get up each day, walk out the door, do whatever it is we need to get done, and choose when to lay our heads to sleep. Again, it’s the middle part that is on my mind so strongly now.

My grandma passed away on my half birthday. In six months, I’ll be 37. That is taking me out of my mid-thirties and placing me in my late thirties – which I’m totally fine with. Am I where I want to be?

No.

I actually came to this realization about a week and a half ago. I even made a mental note (and a vague FB reference, so I felt like I had to be accountable) of it. Grandma passing away only solidified it more for me.

I’m going to return to school for my MBA. Not only will this help me in my career, more importantly – it’s a goal I feel amazingly good about. I like accomplishing things and this would be one accomplishment I would carry very proudly.

Of course, and unfortunately, all goals usually come with sacrifices or hard choices. I can’t keep up the back and forth lifestyle that I have now and the unrest and uncertainty of my relationship. I feel like I’m banking on something that may never happen. While I’m willing to take some risks, I am not willing to risk putting my personal and professional life on hold forever, even if the love is amazing and has the potential to grow to be so much more.

I haven’t seen much effort from The Boyfriend. Well, check that…I’ve seen a TON of effort, but only when I push him in the direction and motivate him to do it. He clearly isn’t working toward a goal, rather I’m pushing him toward it…which ends today. I’ve put him in the path he wants to be – fixing up his place, helped him with budgeting, etc., now it’s his decision whether to keep up with that or not. I have a sickening feeling (which I hope is wrong) that he will fall back into his old “comfortable routine”. He’s already not kept up with the budgeting thing, he’s not saved money to complete the last 2 tasks in his apartment, and he’s not truly began looking for a job down here. As much as I know he loves me and thinks he wants to do this, I think his fear is stronger than his desire and love. As sad as that makes me, I can’t be mad at him for it. We are all human and all have flaws – his is very passive procrastination. He’s comfortable where he’s at and he will sacrifice happiness for that comfortable routine. That’s a choice and I truly am not spiteful or hateful, just very sad about that.

I’m applying to MBA programs, the type of which start in the Summer and run for 2 years either online or on every other weekend. To do either of these options, it would be impossible to schedule the nightly calls, the weekend trips (either up to see him or back and forth to get him to the train station and back). So, with a very heavy heart, I’ve decided that if within the next six months, if he is still unable to relocate, things will be done between us.

That’s painful to write. It breaks my heart. However, I don’t want to live my life alone and honestly, I’m quite lonely. Not that The Boyfriend makes me feel lonely, he is quite good at support…but I don’t want to do that over the phone forever. I need a physical presence. Maybe that’s my flaw in this whole thing.

My grandparents had an odd relationship. I’ve never met two people more opposite. To be honest, they were a horrible matching for each other – but they both decided to stay committed to each other. What an odd concept for me. They stayed together through totally different parenting styles (which caused some pretty major issues in their lives) and even through infidelity. That was their choice, a choice both consenting adults made and lived with. In the end, they did truly love each other. Not out of convenience, not out of duty, rather out of respect. They respected that the other person put up with so much crap from them and loved for that. Now, that is not the kind of love I want (aside from the eternal love part), but it reminds me that I do want a partner, a person here that I can grow old with, that has lived my life with me and seen my kids grow up on a first hand basis which, quite honestly, that time is going by fast. I need to know someone is here, and I mean really here for me. Not just physical location (which, as you can tell, is quite important) but emotionally here for me. When I need them, I need to know they would cross every mountain, swim every ocean to be there for me. That’s the kind of spectacular love I hope I have, but if I don’t – that’s what I want.

I saw this really great thing on another blog that I’ll repost this afternoon, along these lines.

Strong Women.

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I “like” (and actually like) this page on Facebook called Thought Catalog. It’s a site where various people have shared experiences and often lists of things. Sometimes they are goofy, other times serious, and other times quite thought provoking. When I click to read them, I notice that they are actually blogged on WordPress, but when I try to share them on my blog, they never link quite right.

Anyway, I read one today on strong women, which I totally identified with. The Boyfriend can tell you – it’s not easy loving a strong woman, but the rewards are bountiful if you are man enough to do it. Of course, The Boyfriend would laugh at that statement too. He is always telling me how he’s too sensitive to be a man’s man, but in reality, being yourself is more telling of how strong a man you are, especially when being yourself doesn’t fit the neat little package that everyone tries to fit you into. I think that is one of the many reasons we are such a good fit – we buck the stereotypes that are out there for us and we don’t even give it a second though.

Here is the list, as seen on Thought Catalog.

30 Things Every Independent Woman Should Have In Her Life

1. A tool kit, complete with a screwdriver, hammer, tape measure, spare light bulb, and a long-burning candle and matches just in case.

2. A workout routine she can reach for when she needs to blow off steam or give her peace of mind.

3. A budget, a healthy savings account, and a financial plan that involves knowing how to handle all of her bills every month and take care of any emergency things that may come her way.

4. Health insurance. Really. Even if she thinks she’s young and invincible.

5. A sense of style that is unique and doesn’t require spending hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars on things that are trendy or fashionable but she doesn’t even really like deep down.

6. The self-confidence to run to the corner deli in sweats, because A) she values her comfort over what other people think of her appearance and B) who cares if they’re looking anyway?

7. A proper education on sex, regardless of where she stands on sex itself — knowing how her body works is key in taking care of it.

8. Her own Netflix account. Few things are worse than using an ex’s account and having to think about them every time you want to watch a movie.

9. A special pump-up song that always manages to rally her mood whether she’s sad, focusing on something, or just getting dressed for a night out.

10. A healthy relationship with social media that doesn’t involve getting into Twitter fights, posting endless selfies, or stressing over how many likes something got in the past hour.

11. A good relationship with her mother, or with a maternal figure, at least. You might think you need your parents less as you grow up, but really, the relationship just changes, and it helps to have an adult around who has already been. there.

12. A well-tailored professional outfit that she always has clean and on hand because life is full of surprises, and you never know when your dream interview or meeting is just around the corner.

13. A bottle of champagne in the fridge for impromptu celebrations.

14. A bed she can retreat to when she needs it most — think quality sheets, a nice comforter, good pillows, and a mattress that wasn’t purchased used or donated from a friend or family member. Getting a good night’s sleep makes all the difference in the world, so why not invest in it?

15. A good number of meals that she can whip out on her own. Because you can’t live on Seamless for the rest of your life, and there’s a maximum of times you can see the delivery man in one week.

16. A driver’s license — even if she lives in a city with great public transportation — because you never know when you’ll have to step in and take over the wheel. (Bonus points if she has a working knowledge of stick shift, and how to change a tire.)

17. A signature accessory, whether that’s her rings, a lipstick, a nail polish, or a perfume. You don’t want your most marked accessory to be your cell phone.

18. Thank you notes and stamps, and penmanship that doesn’t make her cringe when she sits down to write a note (be it to a prospective employer, someone who gave her a gift or invited her to a party, or simply did something nice for her).

19. When the WiFi, her computer, or her TV blows out on a Thursday night and all she wants to do is get lost in Netflix or her favorite show, she can fix it without smashing the modem and thus restore her night in and her personal mental health.

20. A freak’um dress, a classic LBD, and a dress her grandma will be proud of her for having. Because an independent woman is prepared for any and all dressy occasions.

21. A book in her bag for any time she has to wait for a meeting, appointment, or when she’s traveling.

22. Actual silverware, and not just plastic forks and paper plates. Investing in steak knives might be the advanced course, but baby steps (and maybe a few real wine glasses) count, too.

23. The self-awareness to be grounded in her own beliefs — be they religious, political, or anything in between — but the open-mindedness to respect when other people do not share her views.

24. A knowledge of what she wants from a relationship and not feeling any need to subject herself to tired dating rules — and refusing to settle for anyone or anything less.

25. A favorite drink that she orders without hesitation, whether it’s whiskey on the rocks or the most basic Cosmopolitan ever.

26. The memory of at least one relationship that does not make her cringe in retrospect — or if it does, she also has the knowledge of what went wrong, what she’d change (about herself), and what she can do right next time.

27. If she’s into sports, she has her favorite teams and doesn’t need anyone to explain rules to her.

28. That one friend she shares a special language with, and whom she can text at a moment’s notice for a pep talk, a rant-fest, or anything in between.

29. The knowledge that she looks good, and that she deserves to feel as good as she looks — no external compliments, signs of affection, or cat calls required to think she’s worthy.

30. And the humility to suck up her pride and ask for help when she needs it — be it from a man, another woman, her boss, her parents, whoever. Because you can be an independent woman and still need other people, and let them know how grateful you are to have them in your independent life.