I’m a “Vulnerable” Woman Just Like You
This year I had an encounter with a young woman that has occupied every corner of my brain because of what she said:
I’m embarrassed to tell you because I was weak and I feel like I let down other women down. I was a bad feminist.
See, this young woman did nothing wrong. On the contrary. After facing multiple aggressive and violent situations, not only had she survived but she was standing in front of me still a kind, loving, compassionate human being. She had been scarred but she had not lost her humanity. For me, this was one the most courageous thing I had ever seen.
As women, especially for some of us that come from specific cultural contexts, we feel as though we have to constantly fulfill double and, many times, opposing roles: the slut/virgin, the biker chic/maternal goddess, the intellectual/healer. And the reality is that we are all and none at the same time.
More importantly, we are allowed to be vulnerable and weak. Being a strong woman means being broken at times, and that is normal and okay. Strength comes from the many fractures we face throughout our life and, the best mentors are those that have overcome huge fucking mountains. Not only are they experts in empathy, but their first-hand experience evolves over time into wisdom. These are the women that have inspired me — the ones with blood, tears and sweat on their hands.
One could spend hours writing a deconstructive essay on the WHY, but for me its more important to spend time on the emotions and the sense of self, so I impart the following: Being a woman is already hard enough. Do not punish yourself by feeling guilty that you are not “perfect” in reacting to the harsh, dysfunctional, illogical world you have inherited. Learn from it; Allow yourself time to process it; Educate yourself on how to better handle specific situations; Listen to those that have already traversed the fires; And be ready to extend a hand to those that come after you.
So, you see young woman, you are nothing less than the next generation of strong women in training.
Words of Nutrition
Since understanding something intellectually does not translate to emotional understanding, I want to share the women and their writings that I go to in the times of darkness:
Worth mentioning even though not a woman: Pablo Coelho. His Veronica Decides to Die, Brida, and Besides the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept, has helped me tremendously.
And because it has to be said…
To that courageous young woman, thank you for allowing me to embrace you in sisterly love. You make me a better woman. To the wise women that have mentored me, thank you for healing your wounds and teaching me your secrets. I proudly carry your torch forward.
In publishing this article, some anonymous friend send me this song that is dedicated to all the women that stand side-by-side fighting the good fight with intense passion and love. What we feel about all of you.