What is she like? She’s many things. She’s someone that people look up to. Someone that seems indestructible. She seems to be ever-capable, always able to get up and carry on, no matter what life throws at her. She always has words of advice, she’s always calm and composed. It seems nothing can harm her. She takes all of life’s pain in her stride, never seen to falter or stumble.
She’s also often broken inside. Although she’d never let anyone see the vulnerabilities beneath her armor, she’s struggling. No one is strong all the time. Some days she wakes up and wants to scream. Sometimes she lies awake at night, staring at the ceiling and wishing her life was half as perfect as it seems to everyone else. She’s withstood everything life has thrown at her. She’s someone that’s seen things at their worst. She’s seen misery. She’s been exposed to the worst side of humanity. To be strong is to have lived these things, to have learned these lessons. To have experienced some of the nuance of being human.
So much seems to be expected of her – something she’s only too aware of. She feels the responsibility, the pressure that comes with the impossible task of being labelled as a strong person. She has to keep up appearances. She’s always putting out fires for other people, always making sure she’s there for the important people in her life. But often, she doesn’t let people close enough to be there for her. She’s not there for herself, either. She doesn’t show the same kindness, the same compassion towards her inner thoughts and feelings. She’s self-critical. She expects perfection, and when she can’t get there she’s harsh on herself.
Perfection is unattainable. She shouldn’t aim for perfection. What’s important is that she keeps going. No matter how bad things get, no matter how hard it gets to wake up every day and keep trying, she does. It might take her some time. She might not make it out of bed some days, and that’s okay. What’s important is that in the end, she picks herself back up and carries on.
Everyone is fighting their own battle. Even those of us who appear to be the strongest, the most invincible. Everyone struggles. To struggle is to be human.
The strong woman is no different; she experiences the struggle. And she’s brave in the face of it.