It’s not hard to be a strong woman.
Until 15 or 20 years ago, in any American profession, virtually all women were strong. It was and likely is the only way to live as a woman in the thankless lands of medicine, law, finance, academia, and so on. I was taught early and often how to hide my feelings, my gender, my interests, my sexual orientation, and my pain and work.
It bleeds into your every day life and god does it make it easy. I don’t want to think about how I’ve been abused, mistreated, raped, cheated on, orphaned. I don’t want to think about my lying brain, my migraines, my panic attacks, my spending to fill the hole in my soul.
So I’m a strong woman. I show up at 6:00, leave at 7:00, and bury every bad thing that does not benefit be being strong enough to work 22 hours in a truck stop to make a deadline. To argue law. To have the relationship of my choice.
Never mind that I have buried my soul, my heart, a good chunk of my brain. I am a strong woman.
Never mind that I hide who I am to be a strong woman.
### Because it’s not hard to be a strong woman. Come spend an hour with me, I’ll teach you how.
Certainly I wouldn’t glorify it. At least not over real women.
* Women who have PTSD and manage to tell their stories to help others.
* Women who survived rape and tell their stories.
* Women who suffer from chronic pain and still show up when you need them, in person or on the page.
* Women who experience mental illness in various and intense forms and not only show it, but write about when it pulls them under
* Women who refuse to be told to sit down and shut up because the Emperors of the strong women don’t like what they say.
* Women who fashion the narratives of their lives into glorious essays and aren’t afraid to look weak or broken, because they tell the truth.
* Women who refuse to be told how and when and how long to grieve the losses that hurt their hearts.
* Women who tell their truth, even when it hurts, even when it stings, even when it’s the wildly unpopular but all too human notion of falling in love with the unavailable, failing at their career or love, discovering they were hurt.
### I’ve learned about real women in the last year.
Sure, I’ve met them before. But I didn’t spend a year learning how to write with them, to talk with them, to let myself be one of them. Because when you’re a strong woman, its hard to be a real woman. Hard not to hide your pain and your truth and your wants, because strong women don’t write stories that make them cry. They don’t tell tales about abuse they spent 30 years blocking. They don’t acknowledge that they were raped and didn’t do anything about it and only now write about it 15 years later. They don’t write about how they may never get over losing their parents.
### But real women do.
Real women are afraid of the messy but do it anyway because they are authentic.
Here’s to the real women. The ones who tell their stories despite their fear.
Real women are the ones for me.