My eyes are swollen from crying, my head is throbbing, and my cheesy sweatshirt with Hello Gorgeous printed on it is unintentionally ironic. Crumpled tissues are strewn about the house, as though I have a toddler who thought emptying a box might be a fun way to spend an afternoon. People are sailing in and out of the house, each one saying: You Are So Strong! 

This makes me mad. Look at me! I am anything but strong! Can’t you see me staring into space like I just got high with Snoop? I forgot to pack my kid’s lunch today! I can’t get off the couch! Take your strong and shove it up your… wait. Am I strong? I did take a shower today. I brewed a pot of coffee. I put one foot in front of the other and drove the school carpool. Sure, I cried through it all. But I did it. I’m still here. Maybe I am a little bit strong.

Why do we choose to say this to each other only during times of despair? They are words of comfort to fill an otherwise uncomfortable silence, like the standard “I’m sorry for your loss” heard over and over again at a funeral. They are words of encouragement for the woman whose husband left her. They are a generic response to post about a breast cancer struggle on Facebook. We forget that strength can also be found in regular, everyday circumstances. 

What about the mother of 3 who is so busy running her kids to events and cooking dinner and helping with homework that she collapses into bed without ever speaking a sentence to her husband? You are strong.

The woman who works full-time to support her family, who doesn’t get to see her children until she is kissing them goodnight, whose heart breaks a little with each paycheck? Strong. 

Women everywhere who are just making it through the day: buying groceries, going to Soul Cycle, watering plants. You. Are. Strong. 

Tell your mother she is strong when she makes Thanksgiving dinner. Tell your best friend she is strong when she gets a raise. Tell your daughter she is strong when she gets an A on her Math test. Look in the mirror, even when you are crying and feel hopeless and alone, and remind yourself: I Am Strong. 

Yes, I’m crying on the Internet. I Am Strong.

 

 

 

 

 

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