Happy International Women’s Day! I have to start saying that really, as it was seeing this a lot on social media today that prompted me to write this post (and I want to). When I checked Facebook this morning, it encouraged me to share a post wishing a happy IWD to my girlfriends (just like it told me to share Happy Mother’s Day a couple of days ago – how would we remember anything these days without it?) and I see many of my lovely ladies have posted various images wishing us all the same.
One thing I have noticed though, is that the word ‘strong’ is coming up quite often. ‘Happy IWD to all my strong and smart girls!’ ‘Happy International Women’s Day to all my gorgeous strong ladies!’ ‘Happy International Women’s Day to all the strong and intelligent women doing it for themselves!’ Thank you girls, and it is lovely to spread the love and I am all for a bit of sisterhood,
but what if you are not ‘strong?’
Does this mean this day is not for you? Of course not, but it would be easy to think you didn’t fit in here. Many of us can come across as ‘strong’ but sometimes don’t feel anything of the sort. So whilst I think it is brilliant that we celebrate International Women’s Day; that we remind ourselves we can achieve what our mothers or grandmothers thought was out of their reach, that we can teach our daughters and nieces that glass ceilings are there to be smashed and that we can be who the bloody hell we want to be, at the same time, let’s also remember that we don’t always need to be strong, smart or confident. There will be some days when we just want to stay at home in a fluffy onesie and hug our cats. And yes I am aware of the stereotype there, but that’s fine too. I’m someone who has been described as strong before, yet on occasion, I have really struggled to get out of bed, and that’s with me having a dream job to get up for. Sometimes living up to people thinking you’re a strong woman is exhausting.
If you are preparing for a wedding, you will need to pull out a bit of strength as the bride. Not to get through endless questions of how you’re going to do this, why are you choosing that, how to make that decision on possibly one of the most highly-speculated pieces of clothing you’ll ever wear in your life… but for that moment when the doors open and you walk up the aisle. It’s the moment we answer all the questions, deal with all eyes on us (which many people find hideous) and answer those ‘I can’t wait to see the dress’ comments. Remember to take a minute to breathe and collect your thoughts. As someone who struggled with poor self confidence and body image most of her life, it was the most terrifying part, but you know what, in reality it was just lovely. I made sure to take it all in. All those smiling faces… and I was in a dress that made me feel ace thanks to Ian Stuart.
So if you are reading all the posts and your thinking that you’re not strong, don’t worry. International Women’s Day is for every woman; smart, strong, timid and subtle. What does strong mean anyway? If you’ve ever got up and got dressed when you feel like crap and want to stay in bed, then you’re strong in my book. So happy International Women’s Day to all the strong women, but also to the not so strong ones too. I hope you can go and have a cup of tea and cake with someone you think is strong and feel a bit inspired.