I not sure who told women that we could have it all, or even if anyone else did, but, at times, it feels like too much to handle. Please don’t get me wrong because in no way do I doubt that we can do it all. But to suggest you might have it all seems too much. A problem. A barrier. Something that is standing in our way.
I never thought I would ever be writing a post about feminism but, here I am I guess.
I know strong women. I know women who have done amazing things. I know women who have done everyday things in amazing ways.
To my friends, I hope you are not offended if you recognise yourselves here and trust that your inclusion is a sign of the admiration I have for you.
I know women who work their socks off, women who do an outstanding job. I know clever women. I know women who are amazing mothers and put their own wants and needs below those of their children. I know women who juggle a career and motherhood and essentially work two (and in some cases three) jobs to provide for their families. I know glamorous women. Women who never look anything less than completely pulled together. I know natural women who simply appear to have woken up that way. I know women who eat right and exercise and live clean. I know women who are the life and soul of any party and brighten up a room just by being in it. I know women who work hard for successful relationships. I know brave women. I know women who are independent. I know women who have survived heartbreak. I know women who have been left hurt and betrayed and who simply hold their heads up higher. I know women who face heartbreak every day and still smile. I know women living with mental illness. I know women who have overcome tragedy. I know women who have dealt with death and loss and pain and found something inside to pull them forward. And, as I write this list, I realise I am not talking about individuals because the women I know have been different things.
But I know these women.
These women cry and hurt and feel like failures. They judge themselves by other people. They are insecure and paranoid and vulnerable. They feel less than perfect and like they are not good enough. They torture themselves with what they should be. They tell themselves they should have it all. They can’t. It is impossible.
But I see these women too. And I hear them. And I feel like a fraud writing this because I know I am just as bad. If not worse.
Because if you asked these women I know if they knew I admired them they would say no. I never tell them. In fact, I never say it at all.
Instead I look at other women with them. Women on TV and women in magazines yes, because we can all blame the media and society for the unrealistic expectation we have. Airbrushing and celebrity culture and all the other feminist issues do exist. But this is not about that.
More shamefully I look at the other women I know with them. We talk about their clothes and their relationships. How they speak to us and how they behave. We question their posts on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. I analyse their choices and judge their mistakes and suggest how they should have done it differently. I describe the sympathy I feel for the hurt they display. I can be very empathetic.
And then I am alone and I talk to myself in the same way, using the same words. And I feel like a failure and I cry.
And I can’t change it all. And I probably won’t. But I can try. Today.
For myself as much as for those women I know.
Because I want to feel strong.