I am a woman, I am…

Today, which is International Women’s Day, I came across this: https://youtu.be/6i0A2nkjI9g

On the surface, it caught my attention as a great message to celebrate the strength and awesomeness of women. That’s what it is, and that’s a terrific message and one that I wholeheartedly support. So how did this few minutes of a positive message end with me in tears? It’s simply because as much as we need to loudly proclaim how strong and wonderful and capable women are – what happens when we aren’t?? 

A few years back there was a huge outcry about how society is raising boys to be men. Don’t tell little boys to “man up” or that “big boys don’t cry”. Instead, let them know that it’s okay and healthy to have, and express, the emotions that have always been associated with weakness and even – gasp – feminine traits. Emotions like fear, hurt, sadness, loneliness… emotions that make you feel far from the strong that society has told them have to be, always.

So I watched this video tonight and listened closely and heard a message that as a woman, I can celebrate that I am strong and fearless and courageous. An engineer, a scientist, a creator, a teacher, a race car driver… the list goes on and on. But where is the counter to this? Watching this, it smacks of a message that I am somehow wrong as a woman if I am NOT those things, even sometimes. If we need to show our sons that it is healthy and okay to reach out for a shoulder to cry on sometimes or a pair of arms to fall into when it all feels like to much to bear alone, where is that message for ourselves, as women? Have we swung so far out trying to project our equality and strength that we have created an arena that a woman now has to feel like she has to hide what could very well be seen as weakness if she says she isn’t strong, right now, at this moment? How is that woman supposed to feel about herself when she is being sold a message that she isn’t what she should be, as a woman? A message made for and made by, women.

I am a woman. I am strong and able and capable of anything I set my mind to. I am aware of my own power and embrace it.

I am a woman. I am at times not at all strong or capable or fearless. Sometimes I am needing and wanting of someone to be strong for me. Sometimes, someone else needs to be the rock. Sometimes I can’t be that for myself. There are times that I cry. Tears of fear or loneliness or just plain sad. There are times I don’t see my strength and I need someone to hold me and tell me it’ll all be okay.

As a woman, I am all this and more, and less.

I have the right to be not held to standards of what I should be by anyone, especially other women.

So simply, I’ll be a badass strong woman…or maybe not, today. Either way, I am a woman. I am whatever that means, to me.

Talking today with someone who is in the process of getting her permanent resident card. She’s lived in Canada since she was an infant and she’s turning 50 this month and this is her birthday present to herself. It’s something that she has wanted to do for many years but just never gotten around to. She is almost giddy with how excited she is. She said today to me “do you know what it’s like to finally be doing something that you’ve wanted to for so long? Something you didn’t even know how badly you wanted it until you started the change?” She grinned and answered her own question when she saw my face. Yes, I know. Smiles. She grinned in return and said “Of course you do”. She’s right. She’s seen me these past few years.

 

It’s an amazing feeling to know that you are doing something that you want, that you need, to do. Even more amazing when it sinks in how you didn’t know how much it was needed. It took me a long time to embrace and be open about who I am and how I need to live my life to be able to be happy. Starting with barely admitting it to myself, little bit by little bit, it’s good to be where I am now. Comfortable now. Open. Finally feeling the sense of freedom that comes with living my truth and not hiding it, even from myself – especially from myself.

 

No more shoulds or expectations based on norms that just never fit or felt right anyways. It took a lot of years for me to shine that light inside of myself and see what was there to find all along. Even more years to bring it all forward and accept myself and give myself the nudge to show other people who I am once I finally stopped feeling “wrong”.

 

To expose myself to not only myself but to others. To reach and connect… to finally start to draw closer instead of holding at arms length. Still a struggle but moving forward. To have people in my life who now help make up the beauty of my life. The beauty that is having people that know me. People that see me. The beauty that is having people in my life, some who I love intimately and some I am just getting to know more deeply, who live with the same authenticity and openness. The beauty of being able to see that I’m blessed more than I can see sometimes.