Today is International Women’s Day, which means that it’s likely we’ve all seen this quote a million times on our social media feeds:
“Here’s to strong women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”
It’s an empowering quote—one that I’ve said myself more than once and shared often. But this year, something about it isn’t sitting right with me.
I don’t feel strong right now. I haven’t felt strong for long stretches of the last year. And there’s a part of me—a tired, broken, sad part of me—that sees this quote and feels like the only kind of woman worthy of being admired, celebrated, and seen is a “strong” woman.
What about the women who are struggling? What about the women who cry, the women who lose their patience, the women who have days when they can’t get out of bed because everything feels like it’s too much?
Most of us will be these women at some point in our lives because to be a woman is to be human, and to be human is to fail and falter and feel big, overwhelming, messy feelings sometimes. But all too often, when we feel those big, overwhelming, messy feelings or when we snap at a loved one or when we spend most of our waking hours in tears on a bad day, we don’t give ourselves the grace to not be okay—to not be strong.
Because somewhere along the way, in our quest to inspire and empower, “strong” became synonymous with “good” and “worthy.”