If no man is an island, if we are inherently social creatures, how should we understand people's claims to be valuable individuals, separate from their environment? Based on ethnographic research among self-employed Cuban market traders, this article analyses performances of imagined individuality to understand how people cultivate a notion of themselves as separate from social ties. In Cuba, work in the growing private sector provides a foundation upon which people assert personal independence. In order to cultivate and realize these notions of individuality, one needs to fulfill gendered expectations of material distribution. Hence, to assert personal independence requires the mobilization of unequally distributed resources.