Since Helen and the launching of a thousand ships, women have been described by some of our most famous poets as symbols of beauty and longing. But in truth, a woman’s beauty, strength, and desire reach far beyond soft curves, wanton eyes, and sweetly-scented hair. As I dry my (copious) tears in the wake of the 2016 Presidential election, I remember how far we’ve come, and dream of how far we will go. Women are a force to be reckoned with in this world, even if we don’t yet–officially–rule it. Thankfully, we can still rule the stars, the moon, even the universe. (I think there might be a crown for that.) For all the beautiful, complicated, hilarious, tenacious women in the world…five ways we already rule.
Emotional Fortitude– The expression “cry like a girl” just kills me. What’s wrong with crying? When the sky is falling, there’s something deeply satisfying about completely losing it. And guess what? It actually feels better to let these emotions explode into the heavens instead of bottling them up to brood for all eternity. Women are pretty fantastic at embracing and accepting their emotions. I’m not saying it’s not messy—it’s plenty messy–but there is strength in that. The world is more exciting with passion, exuberance, indignation, even melancholy. Times of crisis are reminders of what is so important, what is so enjoyable, what is so worth the struggle. Managing emotions is incredibly challenging— thank goodness women have so much practice.
Straddling the Divide– For women, I’m not sure there is a mode called Single-Tasking. Juggling 1,001 tasks seems to be the norm for every woman I know, namely because she’s not just Jane Doe: she’s Doctor Jane, PTA President Jane, Auntie Jane, Softball Captain Jane, Best Friend Jane, and Sexy Jane. The great thing about multi-tasking is that life is never boring…I mean, it’s kind of impossible to be bored when your hair is on fire 24/7. But don’t bring me the fire extinguisher yet: the wonderful thing about having so many elements in our lives is that our lives are very, very full. Yes, I wish I could hire a personal masseuse and stream nature sounds in the air while I race through my day…I’m thinking Cinderella and her team of tiny creatures…but until Disney converts Wonderfully Average Woman into its next multi-billion dollar princess venture, I guess we’ll have to be satisfied with knowing that tackling at least 992 of those 1,0001 tasks is pretty damn great.
Mastering Motherhood– Every parent knows that this job is the hardest one to tackle, to wrestle, to tame. Parenting is no joke, and motherhood- phew– is similar to riding a terrifyingly fast carousel that never stops spinning: it’s not that the carousel isn’t great…just be nice to maybe slow down and reset the equilibrium once in awhile. Yet, all the mothers I know are incredible. They balance work, family, and self in a way that looks like Wonder Woman. From those first waddling days of watermelon bellies, to the superhuman powers of childbirth, to half-dazed, sleepless nights, women have tackled motherhood with tenacity and grace. For every vomit-stained shirt, playground bully showdown, last-minute snack share, and two am nightmare, mothers are ready for the challenge. I’d like to see Homer write about THAT.
Gurus of Comfort– Women are particularly good at knowing when someone needs to be fiercely wrapped in a hug, or gently soothed by a soft hand on her back, brushing the matted hair out of her tear-stained face…namely, knowing how to focus all her attention on the personal crisis of the one sitting before her. When it comes to affection, compassion, and empathy, women are great at reaching out or listening…and when the time calls for it, vilifying whatever or whoever is causing such strife in the lives of the ones we love. No problem can’t be made just a little better by jacking up the volume to “I Will Survive”, dancing around the room, and screaming the lyrics with gusto. Gloria, Janis, Pat, Madonna, Alanis, Fiona, Gwen…I thank you for your wisdom and your terrifically singable anthems. Because when no one seems to understand the Crazy that is our lives, we still need people to listen to that Crazy, to try their best to decode that Crazy, and at the very least, help us put the pieces back together when the Crazy becomes too much. Women are pretty great at that.
Beautiful Creatures–Just because women should be admired for more than their attractiveness doesn’t mean their beauty isn’t worth mentioning 🙂 For all the complaining we may do about the constraints of female fashion, there’s something truly creative, fun, and empowering about the style of a woman. Regardless of what that style is- natural, understated, sporty, elegant, edgy, artistic- women are gorgeous in their originality. As the seasons change, and the trends emerge, women find a way to be vibrant, sensuous, colorful, and alluring. When I think of how this reconciles with everything else a woman is, imagine a piece of rich, decadent chocolate cake. I’m talking molten lava cake with fresh whipped cream. The richness of the cake, the moist layers, the melting chocolate center…that’s the good stuff…but add the whipped cream, and the dessert becomes positively heavenly.
For every beautifully complicated woman…happy reign.