Thought Catalog

14 Things Independent Women In Their Early 20s Shouldn’t Be Ashamed Of

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All the ladies, who are independent, throw your hands up at me! (I know, it’s most likely in frustration.) But really, it’s getting ridiculous, right? Ladies, we are ALLOWED to be headstrong, audacious, and unapologetic when it comes to what we want. Having control over our lives is essential to our sanity and well-being. As is Nutella and late night wine rants.

And if you’re reading this, you have most likely said ‘I’m sorry’ to placate Those That Judge after asserting some form of independence or have bitten your tongue when someone made a horrendous remark regarding bitchy women. It’s usually along the lines of ‘she just doesn’t get how to be a lady’ or ‘why can’t she just wear a nice dress and make-up to my parent’s house?’

I’m here to tell you, that if ever there was a time to salute your middle finger, it’s now, because it’s okay to bend society’s standards and shatter the pressures on the young women of our generation. It’s OKAY to abandon the paradox of being approachable, yet flawless; a guy’s girl, yet the epitome of classy; a shameless beer guzzler, yet devoted drunk babysitter. (We can’t all be JLaw.)

And we can’t win, so we’ve stopped playing the game. And that’s something to be ashamed of. So pick up your pawn, and starting knocking over the opponents. Embrace your inner fire of intimidation and keep burning through life. Ignore your haters; bear hug those who are smart enough to love and support you.

And whatever you do, never cower in shame when practicing the following:

1. Not owning enough bras. We are never going to own enough bras because ONE SINGLE BRAZZIERE costs more than our entire coffee allowance for the month. So, go on with your bad self, and wear that bra a third (or fourth) day in a row. And spend your hard earned cash on a good delicates bag to throw in the wash. Oh, and always a cup o’ Joe. “I’ll have a quad venti latte, please!”

2. Going out with friends instead of doing laundry. I can’t tell you how many bonding experiences I almost missed because ‘I needed to do a quick load of laundry and fiddle around in my house pretending to get chores done.’ You can clean the coffee maker when you’re dead and stuck haunting your roommate for leaving your dirty dishes in front of your bedroom door. Go have that drink, shake your bum, and throw a few skirts and tops in the wash on your way out.

3. Doing laundry instead of going out with friends. If you’re an independent woman with a streak of OCD, OWN THAT FLAWLESSNESS. Secretly, we all wish we were as neat as you. If you know the only thing you’ll see at the bottom of your empty beer mug is the pile of laundry waiting for you at home, sit this one out. Sometimes there really are no clean clothes left. And sometimes, it’s Sunday and that has been your laundry day since middle school. We understand. And we love you for it. I’ll bring a bag of chocolates by and we’ll catch up on your day off.

4. Spending time alone watching TV. Sometimes, we find ourselves alone on the couch with zero missed calls or unanswered texts, and we’re left to entertain ourselves. Or, sometimes, we’re the ONLY PERSON in our friend group watching Grey’s Anatomy and no one will binge watch it with us. And that’s okay. Being comfortable with yourself in your froggie bathrobe and a midnight treat is important. Plus, no one will talk through your favorite parts or judge you for eating that entire jar of pickles.

5. Not saving money. Let’s face it: between the ages of 20 and 25, saving money is next to impossible. Living is expensive. It doesn’t have to be a permanent arrangement, but neglecting your savings account for a few years will not end you or make you a bad person. It makes you human. Besides, who has enough income for a savings account when we owe on student loans (or hospital bills, or credit card accounts) AND we work entry level jobs?

6. Bouncing between friend groups. This week, Bethany is my girl. We’ll go the latest art exhibit, argue about politics, and sip on pretentious wine at a downtown bistro. Next week, I’ll be engrossed in some television show with Shannon and we won’t leave her bedroom unless it’s to go to work or refill the cheez-its bowl. Why choose? Why set limits? True, your life could naturally settle down around a few choice friends, but it’s okay to not be there yet (or ever). It’s okay to explore your options just a little longer (or forever).

7. Experimentation. So you’ve always wanted to know what it’s like to smoke a cigarette, or ride on the back of a motorcycle, or to have sex with a girl and if you like it (trust me, it’s stupendous). SO WHAT? Eighty years ago, women wanted to know what it was like to not wear a bra. Own your choices, and whether or not you liked what you tried on, know that you at least gave it a shot. Now you know how much a cigarette can choke you.

8. Cutting people out of your life. It’s not bitchy to say, ‘We just can’t be friends because your attitude and behavior bring me down.’ It’s not even bitchy to stop answering someone’s phone calls because they can’t seem to keep up with you. That’s life. Not everyone can be around us. Not everyone has something to offer us. If they get in the way of your life, ask them to move. If they don’t, cut them out.

9. Having more than one job. Independent women like nothing more than to be able to take care of themselves. And if it takes two jobs to do that, we will. We’re told it’s okay to accept help, but no one ever tells us that it’s also okay to try doing things on our own. I work two jobs so I can pay the electricity bill AND afford beer on Friday nights. It isn’t a crime, and I like it better than having to call Mom for a spare 100 bucks every month. If that’s you, too, it’s more than okay. Hard work and persistence teach us things calling home for money won’t.

10. Living at home. Sometimes, living is too expensive. Sometimes there are circumstances preventing us from being our full, independent selves. Sharing a bathroom with Grams again might teach you a thing or two about patience. Helping your siblings with high school homework might keep your brain in tip top shape. Fighting with your mom about the amount of coffee mugs in your room at any given time will force you to realize what a slob you are. Also, think of all that cash your saving!

11. Living with friends. When I moved out, I was scared shitless. But I came to a realization over the summer: I’m completely okay with what a slob I am. I also want to be able to shower in the morning without three people banging on the door, yelling at me to hurry up. So, I moved out. I grumble about bills every month, but I have people over whenever I want, I decide when to clean my room, and I always have a built-in wingman (thanks, roomie!).

12. Being in a serious relationship. “But, can you even drink at your wedding?” The answer is yes, bitch, yes I can. And there will probably be a pre-game champagne drink-off in the bride’s dressing room. Independent women are catches. Sometimes guys or gals catch us before adulthood does. And honestly, if I found my true love right now I’d rejoice knowing I’d have someone to face the next few years of young twenty-hood with.

13. Being single. On the flip side, it’s also okay to fly solo and figure out life for yourself. I have learned more about insane asylums (late night insomnia), stage managing, and cooking than I probably would have had I a significant other. And if I wasn’t a catch before, I’m certainly one now, one who makes a mean chicken parmesan.

14. Not being in college. I saved this for last, because it’s the easiest thing for me to be ashamed of. Yes, it’s hard watching my friends graduate, and yes it’s hard to deal with the family judgment I often get, but it’s not nearly as hard as moving through the motions of getting a degree I don’t want. It’s more than okay to carve out a different life path than your peers.

If college isn’t for you right now, that doesn’t mean it won’t be there when you’re ready for it again.Some people take more than six years to get their degree. Some of us women decide a degree isn’t for us at all. Some of us go to beauty school and live for doing hair and make-up. Some of us will join the Peace Corps and save third world countries. Follow your passions, the rest shall follow. It might be hard at times, going against the grain, but if you’re truly an independent woman, you’ll persevere. AND WHATEVER YOU CHOOSE, THAT’S OKAY. TC mark

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