Independently Faulty?


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about independence. Mine in particular. I am 27, currently living alone, and I make all my own decisions rarely consulting others before I do so.

I’m not going to lie, I like it… A LOT

Lately i’ve been wondering if there is any such thing as being “too independent,” and if so do I fall in that category?

I guess at this point it doesn’t matter much. I mean, the truth is I like living my life the way I want and there is no part of me that is desperate to have it any other way. I know people who always need to be in a relationship, as if they are scared to hang out with themselves. This fear drives them from one relationship to the next and in the end all they want is to be with someone at any cost. I think that if I truly, deeply didn’t want to be alone, I wouldn’t be. I would have found someone at some point and just settled into “normal” life by now (don’t even get me started on how angry it makes me that having a family is the “norm” and the only end to every means).

That is how I used to think and now I don’t know anymore. I know that my thinking on a lot of subjects has drastically changed recently. 2 years ago I was planning exactly how many children I wanted, when I wanted them, and what I wanted to name them. Now? I cringe at the thought of having to give up my late mornings for screaming babies.

I think it is causing me a bit of an identity crisis. I’m happy which is all that should matter right? But that nagging social Christian “norm” is pestering me to wonder if I SHOULD be happy. “You’re TOO independent.” It says. “That’s not normal.”  A friend of mine said, “Independent girls are sexy.“…but that was after he said it was a sure sign of being a lesbian ( i’m not) and was trying to withdraw the foot from his mouth.

I like people and I am very much an extrovert. But at the same time I don’t pursue relationships because I like being alone just as much. I forget that people expect me to call and visit and do things together. Recently I heard a speaker at a conference say (directed towards single people), “whatever you do, do it with someone else–whether it is going to the grocery store, for a walk, or watching a movie.” In principle I agree because I am very pro-community; however, the thought of giving up THAT much of my time, privacy and energy causes me to panic. I LIKE going to the grocery store alone. I LIKE sleeping in my bed ALONE.  I LIKE walking by myself at night (gasp).

Have I been raised wrong or is it just who I am? Do I need to break the box I have created, or accept that this how God made me? I DON’T KNOW!!! It is very confusing.

Recently my mom  jokingly said she regretted raising my sister and I so independently. It means we are always off on our own adventures and far from home. I understand what she means and as much as I would never ever give up my experiences I have to wonder if she has a point. I am used to doing life on my own and I’m not sure I even know how to begin to let someone else into it.

This picture of me (above) was taken by a great photographer, Chris  Seto ( .  Lately the picture has been speaking volumes to me about my life. That’s how I feel…like I’m walking toward a very great, very wide horizon–and I’m walking alone. But I’m not sad because look at how many different ways I can go! It’s an adventure–sometimes lonely, sometimes freeing, but always an adventure.

So…here is my confession. Everyone is constantly trying to hook me up with someone because they “don’t want someone so great to be alone”…but the truth is…

I’m perfectly happy just as I am.

Maybe I’ll meet a guy who likes my independence as much as I do and then maybe I’ll renegotiate, but until then (just so everyone knows), I’m o.k. this way.


7 Responses to “Independently Faulty?”

  1. 1 Brianmpei May 31, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Oh great! Thanks Shelley, I’ve never thought of this as a potential character defect before. I’m not extrovert like you, introvert through and through and I love me some alone time real good. I have thought it might disqualify me from pastoring but never thought of it as a character issue. Crap!

  2. 2 shelleyperry May 31, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    um… i never said liking alone time was the character issue…i am wondering if such total independence is the character flaw. Seriously, read more carefully!

  3. 3 sweetlybroken May 31, 2007 at 11:33 pm

    if it’s character flaw……I’m doomed. It’s possible to still be independent and married at the same time.
    A good marriage is a joining of two hearts not two hips.
    miss you

  4. 4 Rachel June 1, 2007 at 2:21 am

    “Sure sign of being a lesbian”…so the more clingy you are, the more straight? *grumble grumble” Someone needs to put their labelling machine away.

  5. 5 Patty June 2, 2007 at 11:26 am

    Shelley, one of the things I most admire about you is that you are not the typical single gal…bouncing from relationship to relationship. In fact, I think you’re looking at this situation all wrong. Don’t look at your independence and your singleness as a fault…look at it a preparation for when your are blessed with a husband. Being content to be single is a much lacking quality, I’m afraid, with today’s young ladies. Not that I’m saying you need to go find a man and marry him, but don’t let your independent spirit deter you from the idea of marriage. In fact, don’t fret about it at all…God made you the way you are and when He sees fit, He’ll send the right man along just for you. You’re not independently faulty…you’re just the way God created you to be!

  6. 7 Kendall July 5, 2007 at 1:53 am

    love your thoughts. I think that if you’re thinking like you’ve been writing, you’re in the right place. It’s totally possible to be too independent, but by seeing the danger of it and asking yourself if you are, you’re guarding yourself against being like that (at least partially).

    Anyways, just wanted to say that I loved your thoughts, and am glad to have a single friend with her head on her shoulders. Keep on enjoying the good life.

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