It won't be news to long-time readers that money is important to me. I remember reading some advice when I was a child, that a woman should always have some money of her own. I recognised the wisdom of that advice then, and it hit home as I grew up. When I wasn't happy living with my parents, living under their rules, it would strike me again and again that I couldn't really live my own life until I was financially independent. Once I made my own money, I could make my own rules. I could live where I wanted. Being financially independent would make me an actual adult.
And with all of my rules about relationships and life - rules about not being in any relationship (and I'm not just referring to romantic relationships here) where you aren't valued or respected, about being alone - and even desperately lonely - rather than in a bad relationship - all of these rules cannot be followed unless you have the financial freedom to follow them through. You can't walk out of the house - at least, it would be way more difficult to gather the courage to - if your parents or your partner is financially supporting you. If you are financially independent, the problem becomes much smaller: you might have to face some censure and loneliness and heartbreak - but you will live, and hopefully have a better life at the end of it.
And yet, this is a rule I have broken myself. Broken over the past year, when I quit a job that was draining me and stayed home for a few months for no other reason than that I wanted to. It is not something I regret or am ashamed of: on the other hand, I am proud that I could trust the Guy enough, our relationship enough, to take such a step; proud that our relationship has survived - and bloomed - through periodic outbreaks of insecurity wherein I questioned my worth when my time seemed to have no tangible value.
I do not mean to say that this is a step that was right for me and isn't for others. I did it for a while, for less than a year. But it is over now, and I go back to work next week. And I look forward to money in my bank account; I look forward to being able to buy a frivolity without feeling guilty; I look forward to being able to get into a fight with the Guy without feeling bitter and frustrated that I can't leave him because I don't have any money.
No, I don't want to leave him: not when I am sane. But I have my crazy moments when I'm afraid things between us have got worse and it would be better if we part, before I realise I am just tired or sleepy or something and he hasn't really done anything wrong. But even in those crazy moments, I would like to feel that the door is open, that I can leave if I want to, that I am here, in this relationship, in this house with him, because this is where I would rather be.
And this is in a relationship which I consider near-perfect, which seems to get better every year. Not all relationships are - I should know, this is by far the best I have ever had, and I'm not just including romantic relationships.
Financial freedom. The freedom to earn your money, to decide what to spend it on, to decide where to invest it. To buy property in your name, to sell it when you want to. To do all of this, like men do. How are we equal, if we do not have the same?*
I am posting this very late, so I can't fairly tag anyone else. The deadline is in an hour.
*By the same I do not mean the equal amount of money, but the equal amount of freedom.