Hmmm… That was all a bit maudlin. Caught off guard, I guess. Old triggers, and sadness. Wasn’t supposed to sound so melodramatic. Re-read last night’s post again in the fresh, beautiful, winter’s sunlight. I never want to be woe-is-me, that’s not who I am. But we all have moments when our history collides with our present and the words of someone we trusted can connect with old wounds.
I am a strong woman. And sometimes that means I am a victim of my own success; it can mean that others do not see how much we may want to be looked after for a change, or be given permission to relax, or take the weight off our shoulders every now and again. It is a little exhausting being so staunch. And it means people in our lives sometimes have to put in a little effort. Use a different set of skills. Have patience. To find our softness.
I look at my close female friends, and wonder at their strength. They are a beautiful mix of energy and wisdom and inner-resource. Business Women of the Year, each one. Mothers, and partners, and community leaders. Over-achievers, financially solvent, and accessing great opportunities. And I am in awe of them. They are my heroines now. They are the ones that stand tall and strong, even as the avalanche of life’s rubble falls down around their ears. The inevitable tumbling rain of heartache and hardship. They are my examplars. And they have helped me realise it is ok to be a woman of substance. Of intelligence and independence.
But I also see them in their quiet, lost, moments. When their eyes tell me what they cannot say; that they need help, or love, or a silent person in the background giving support, asking nothing in return. They don’t need someone to fix or assemble… just someone to carry a little of the load for a few paces. They will not ask for it. They simply trudge through the rocky parts. And you know what else they all have in common? These women from different countries, and backgrounds, and education? They each put on their happy face to the outside world, whether they are feeling it or not. They don’t make excuses, they are self-aware enough to know that’s what it takes. But none of them will let you see them break.
So while I love my girls dearly, I am learning from them too. I am learning to ask for help. To let people in. To take a risk on a man’s word. To trust that if I let myself bend a little to make room for those I respect and am attracted to, then maybe, just maybe… one of them will see through the bluster and tough exterior and reach out a hand to steady me on my way. To accept my past, to embrace my passion, laugh at my outspoken, rambly nonsense. Give me some rein. Understand that humour is my coping strategy. But he is going to have to be strong too. Because I will never be the pretty, feminine, unquestioning, woman that boys’ dreams are made of.