Independence Day may be right around the corner (and don't you worry, we have you covered with last-minute holiday outfits! In fact, keep reading for a very special offer), but we're going to be talking about it all month. Whether it's the freedoms we have in this country, freedom from societal expectations or making our own freedom by being our own #GirlBosses—whatever freedom means to you, we're celebrating it. Read on, as some members of the #PRIMtribe reflect on what it means to them:
I remember right after I started working at PRIM, Missy treated me to dinner and some dating wisdom someone had imparted onto her: "Don't get married before you turn 30... because between ages 25 to 30 you change and learn so much about yourself." I was 28 at the time. I had gotten close to marriage, though had never been engaged. And while her advice was encouraging, I still secretly hoped I'd at least be in a serious relationship by the time 30 rolled around, especially considering all my friends (not to mention exes) were settling down and starting families all around me.
I'll be 31 in a month, and I'm no closer to marriage than I was that night. Missy has seen—well, heard about—all of my dating highs and lows since then. I even got myself into that serious relationship. Although he appeared to be marriage material on the outside (owned his house, was ready to settle down, had a stable, high-paying job, blah blah blah), I knew in my heart he wasn't for me. Saying goodbye was hard, but I'd rather be alone than feigning happiness. I also dated a lot of guys that had nothing long-term to offer me and/or were completely wrong for me. With every "failed" relationship, I grew a little closer to myself.
Editor's note: I put "failed" in quotes because I don't know that anyone can actually fail at a relationship—and believe me, I didn't always feel this way. You're talking to a product of divorce, hopeless romantic and deeply-sensitive empath that has suffered through (and much longer than necessary with) every breakup and heartache. But Missy was right about that period of self-discovery. In the astrological world, this uncertain time of your life is called your Saturn return, which happens right around 28 years old. I'm so blessed that my pain led me down a path of wellness and yoga training, which taught me that everyone we encounter—not just romantic partners—is a spiritual assignment, an opportunity for growth. While you might not learn the lesson, you can never fail at being yourself.
With each of my dating missteps, I truly started to enjoy my own company. In fact, most nights I preferred to be alone at home, in my tiny studio, than out with others. But more importantly, I realized I don't need someone else—anything outside of myself, really—to complete me. For so long, I was looking for a partner to validate my feelings, stand up for me, take care of me... until I learned I could do all of those things for myself. That has been the most empowering feeling of all.
Now, I don't judge anyone that married early/before that milestone. I am truly happy for people that have found someone they love so much that they want to share the rest of their lives and space with that person. I still want that for myself. But I don'tneedit to be happy or complete me. Being comfortable and happy with who I am is what independence means to me, and it has been the greatest gift that my 30s have brought me (so far).
The literal definition of independence is "the fact or state of being independent," or even better put by Ne-Yo: "She got her own thing, that's why I love her, Miss Independent." I was raised by a single mother, in a time when it wasn't as common as it is today. I never felt a lack or that anything was incomplete in my life. If anything, my mother Debra taught me independence, which has been a huge part of my journey and life. I've lived on my own and away from my family since I was 24. I've never felt alone, even living far away, because I've been blessed with such a strong family base. I was once told by my mother that she is so grateful to have "given me roots to call home but wings to fly on my own." Independence has been living on my own, supporting myself financially, building my dream life of doing what I love at PRIM and fulfilling my life intentions and dreams every day.
To me, independence means having the ability to think, believe, and act freely and on your own terms. Having independence is important to me because it instills a sense of accomplishment when I get something done, knowing it was all my doing. It builds confidence and feeds into self-love when I feel like something got done on my own merit. Additionally, being an "independent woman" is important because it demands respect and screams, "I'm here, and I'm in charge of my life." Taking charge of your own life, accomplishments, and mistakes is what being independent as a person is all about!
Independence is so important and something I pride myself on. One of the most important things we as human beings have is our freedom and independence. That being said, one of the biggest issues in our country is that people's freedoms are being stripped away. While I love celebrating the Fourth of July, I think this year especially we need to use our privilege to help people who don't have the same independence as us. Being a store full of strong, independent women encourages me to help women who don't feel as empowered as us. Building our customers up into strong, independent women is one of the great joys of our job.
Independence is the complete freedom and control on an individual or a group of individuals without harming others; to conform as much or as little as you want. It is the ability to make your own decisions and actions without the permission of someone else. It is the freedom to like what you do and not what everyone else expects you to do.
Independence means being free from anything or anyone that would control who I am or who I want to become. Independence means that I am my own person, and I have the options to try anything to better myself and my community. I would say that I am thankful for the independence that I have in this country, but I recognize that not everyone else has the same independence, and I'd love to use my privilege to give everyone equal rights.
To me, independence is following my heart; owning my time and health; and living my dreams.
Independence means knowing that I can make it on my own without having to rely on anyone else.
We want to know what it means to you! Reply in the comments below, or share your own empowering stories with us in stores or on social media. When you come in this week, you'll get 20% OFF all red, white and blue items PLUS site-wide with code HAPPY4TH.