I love strong women. Ambitious, fired-up, smart, driven, strong women. There’s a misguided idea out there that most strong women are in the workforce, busting through glass ceilings while the rest of us while away our time at home.
Strong women are all around us.
I’ve been known to stop in my tracks to observe a woman in a parking lot, in a waiting room, or at the post office, asserting herself. Getting her kid’s behavior under control, or maybe not. Maybe she decided enough was enough and just hauled their asses out of there. Strong women know when to cut their losses.
Strong women look a man right in the eye when he tries to make her feel like she is less than, simply because she’s female. When he sidles up to her and says, “Hey, baby,” she looks straight at him and says “BACK UP.”
I see them at the gas station, the pharmacy, and the gym, strong in a thousand ways—mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically. When fear creeps into a strong woman’s throat, she acknowledges it, and then moves on. Strong women lean into fear, hating every minute, but pressing past it anyway. Strong women know that if they stop doing what scares them, life will swallow them whole.
Strong women hustle side gigs, chasing their dreams in between chasing their children. They drop their kids off at day care and bust balls from a corner office. They photocopy in silence. They yell from across a boardroom.
They sew. Or don’t.
They are single mothers who are so fucking exhausted that they feel like they can’t go on, but they do go on. Because they have to. Strong women bear unimaginable burdens, but their burdens do not define them. Often, the rest of us don’t even know their struggles exist, because these women don’t whine incessantly about their problems. They carry on in spite of them, to spite them.
Strong women volunteer their time, their energy, and their love. They are the backbone of families, smoothing sweaty hair off foreheads, bandaging cuts, scrubbing burned eggs off frying pans, and folding towels, even when it feels like nothing they do is noticed by anyone.
Strong women are the foundation of society, because without them there would be no society.
What separates strong women from the weak is their ability to persevere when others would give up; it’s their depth of character and sheer will that propels them forward. Whether their responsibilities seem great or small, the fact of the matter is, they rock it. These women make the best friends because they know who they are at their core, and they don’t have time for bullshit.
I once worked with a woman who was attacked in a Walmart parking lot at 6:30 in the morning; a man jumped out from behind a car and tried to snatch her purse. My friend ripped off one of her high heels and beat the shit out of him before holding him down, face to the pavement, until the cops arrived. When she finally arrived at work several days later, every woman in the office stood up and applauded her.
At this point in my life, I want to surround myself with women who inspire me, who push me to do better, who encourage me to aim higher. Life is hard on women. We need to face our battles head-on, head high, shoulders back, and preferably, arms linked with a friend who can hold us up when we get tired of fighting.
Together, we will slay.