The Flying Brick (Independent Woman)
You’ve heard it a thousand times: I am a Young, Black Independent Woman!!! Usually followed by: “And I ain’t need no man!!”
Sometimes when a woman says or strongly implies this, I picture the type of character you’ll see in comic books: a woman, wearing a snazzy costume, usually tights with a lot of bare legs or cleavage, flying in air, punching through brick walls. Bullets either bounce off her chest, or she’s too fast to get hit by them. She’s fast, strong, and indestructible. She’s practically a flying brick.
There is a mythology to the independent. While having varying interpretations, this mythological creature (sometimes emphasized as “independent black woman”) is mostly defined as a woman who pays her own bills, buys her own stuff, and doesn’t need a man. The independent woman is practically an exaggeration of the ability to put one first, and take care of one’s self. The Flying Brick is usually born out of necessity, but also might be born from being a recovering victim of another relationship (or repeated abuse/neglect) story. This is why she over-exaggerates it; she over-compensates. But overall, the independent woman supports herself entirely on her own and is proud to be able to do so.
The independent woman brags a lot. She will not hesitate to let you (the man) know that she doesn’t need a man (that’s you). You may very well be just as expendable as she claims. She is also a control freak, which is again, a trait born out of habit and necessity. She may perceive men as incompetent or untrustworthy. She may be tad bit narcissistic, manipulative, or a full blown sociopath. These types can also be full of shit.
I like to touch up on a large device in society that help perpetuate the attitude that this is a good idea. Rap music uses this character trope a lot, and it’s well studied at this point. Rap music tends to only become different in it’s interpretation of an “independent woman” due to the sex of the rapper who’s speaking. When it’s a male rapper, the independent woman is practically a perfect woman pairing up with an imperfect man. Women tend to focus more on sexual freedom, financial gain but at the same time demand that the man pays for it. While the male rappers tend to rarely mention domestic qualities, female rappers NEVER mention it. Both speak in with an implied level of disrespect towards the woman at hand, and none of the rappers actually suggest that this independent woman is keepable; as in, there’s nothing mentioned on the ability to maintain a solid relationship.
The thing that many independent women miss out on, is that in pursuing all the goals and behaviors associated with men, they miss out on maintaining the identity of a woman. While many flying bricks like to try to play on a man’s ego and suggest that “you ain’t strong enough”, many men are getting savvy enough to realize that their desired traits in a woman are HARDWIRED regardless, and any woman suggesting anything opposing such is full of shit. What they miss out on is the fact that relationships are about compromise; that means allowing space for back and forth movement between the two parties involved.
Understanding the mechanics of a relationship with a significant other is also a perishable skill. No matter what, both men and women need these five for a healthy relationship:
Rejection, neglect, disapproval, indifference and distraction are the opposite forces of those five, and will utterly kill a relationship. One thing that makes a flying brick what it is is the invulnerability factor. Simply put, being “invulnerable” is not synonymous to being “strong”. Another way of putting it is like this: being vulnerable is not equal to being weak. Vulnerability is a necessity for relationships.
It is not a moot point that some of these women get off on the level of power and control here. Strange enough, with all the pride and boast involved, there’s really nothing special about taking care of one’s self for it’s an expected responsibility of an adult.
The Perpetual Victim (The Codependent)
If the “Independent Woman” is a flying brick, the “Codependent Woman” is a crawling victim. I call these “Cling-ons” because of their habit of, well, clinging on. Codependency is a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another. It refers to the dependence on the needs of, or control of, another. It also often involves placing a lower priority on one’s own needs. Codependency can be characterized by denial, low self-esteem, excessive compliance, or control patterns. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually abusive types seems to be the natural magnets of women with this behavior.
Everyone needs to depend on one another, but codependency is a pathological problem you might exactly see at first. Codependency can occur in any type of relationship, but you will notice it when you begin the realize that it’s impossible to urk them, frustrate them, or otherwise piss them off. These people will take extreme levels of abuse. Typically, codependent folks are quick to self-martyr themselves for relationship. They constantly put others’ needs before their own and in doing so neglect to take care of themselves. This creates a sense that they are “needed”; they cannot stand the thought of being alone. I cannot refrain from emphasizing how abusers love keeping them around; it’s practically Stockholm Syndrome in a relationship. When it comes to arguments, codependent people tend to set themselves up as the “victim”, and when they do stand up for themselves, they feel guilty. In fact, it’s easy to guilt-trip these types. This is the precise reason why abusive men LOVE codependent women; once the abusive uses projection, the codependent’s guilt does the rest of the job for him.
In addition, these are the ones who, after talking about their problems, leaves you wondering are they a glutton for punishment. They are frighteningly comfortable in their victim-zone. Other than the pathological aspect of it, half the time they are fully cognizant of the abusive situation and it’s the common talking points when you meet with this friend. The other times, they are low-balled; the abuser “promises” to change, but by the time she realizes he didn’t change she has a cognitive dissonance and has built more reasons (either real or empty) to stay. These types tend to be addicts of something, attention, alcohol or drugs come to mind, but the addictive nature in them usually manifest as “sex addict”. To a normal guy, the “impossible to piss off” factor in this one may make him feel like she’s a Cling-on Stalker. And that’s a safe bet.
While this isn’t a healthy condition, there is good news; there is an acute awareness of this and there are anonymous groups for her. I’m serious, seek help for you or a friend that suffers from this.
The Desired (The Interdependent)
Many times in my life I’ve met a woman who brags that she “can get ANY man.” I then pause and lean forward and ask, “But can you KEEP, any man though?” There’s usually a long pensive, awkward pause. It kinda shuts her up. Not to say perfection exists, but this is where we meet the type that finds balance between the first two discussed. Interdependence, or cooperative dependence, is a relationship in which each member is mutually dependent on each other. This is point the “strong independent” (I say mockingly) is missing. The codependent also doesn’t understand this.
The interdependent has a strong sense of social cohesion; many of the things I mentioned earlier that the codependent and the independent were lacking are found here:
- Acceptance: They accept you for who you are and how you are.
- Appreciation: They loves what you do and what you provide for the team.
- Approval: They are not petty, hyper-critical in judging you.
- Affection: They know how to fill that emotional need that you have.
- Attention: They do not allow too much to distract them from the relationship at hand.
These are the fundamental things that makes the Interdependent “The Desired”. I can imagine that the word itself “interdependence” is foreign to many. Not to say it’s the rappers’ fault, but I don’t see too many rappers — male or female — praising such a concept.
What makes relationships healthy is interdependency, not codependency. Paradoxically, interdependency requires two people capable of autonomy. When couples love each other it’s normal to feel attached, desire closeness, be concerned for each another, and to depend upon each other. They engage in commitment behavior. Their lives are intertwined, and they’re affected by and need each other. However, they share power equally and take responsibility for their own feelings, actions, and contributions to the relationship. Because they have self-esteem, they can manage their thoughts and feelings on their own and don’t have to control someone else to feel okay. They allow each other’s differences and honor each another’s identity. Thus, they’re not afraid to be honest. They can listen to their partner’s feelings and needs without feeling guilty or becoming defensive. Since their self-esteem doesn’t depend upon their partner,they don’t fear intimacy, and independence doesn’t threaten the relationship. In fact, this type of relationship gives them more freedom. There’s mutual respect and support for each other’s personal goals, and at the same time both are committed to the relationship.
Keep in mind that despite the differences between sexes in relationships, these relationship tropes works with both men and women. Both men and women can be a brick, victim or desired. So in the end, which one would you rather be?