To a Strong Woman… and Back Again

I mastered it. The art of being a strong, independent woman. Somewhere in my early 20’s, I figured out how to not need anything from anyone. I didn’t need to waste my time on a relationship. I was busy getting my education. I had a goal in mind… a successful career that would require a graduate degree, publications, long hours in a high rise office.

I would make money, I decided. I would be able to provide a good life for myself and if the time ever came, I’d be able to send my kids to Ivy League schools if they chose to go to one. The idea of a husband didn’t really come into the picture, although I knew it was a necessary detail. I would do it. That’s all that mattered.

Why would I do it? Because I had something to prove. A sheltered childhood left me ill-equipped for the world that would greet me when I struck off on my own, as a barely-18 year-old girl who weighed 100 pounds soaking wet. I learned the hard way that not everyone has good intentions. I learned that your first love might cheat on you with a woman of questionable morals. That you might get your heart broken because someone’s addiction is stronger than their love for you. I learned that you can’t keep a routine, because someone might study it. I learned that it’s not safe to go places alone at night. That you have to worry about parking garages and dark stairwells and telling people where you live. I learned that a lot of men aren’t like my dad. I’d been hurt. I’d been scarred. And for a while, I’d been beaten by life.

But you can only live that way… feeling beaten… for so long. Then you decide that you aren’t going to let the trials of life win. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and decide that you’re stronger than that. I began a journey to build a fortress around myself. I became smarter. I became tougher. Harder. Stronger. I faced my fears head-on. And before I knew it, there I was… a strong, independent woman. I had my career. I owned my home. I learned that with perseverance, I can overcome anything that might stand in my way.

I did it on my own. And as a result, I was alone.

Men, you’ve all met a woman like I described above. There’s not much you can say or do to convince her to let her guard down. Most men walk away from a woman like that. Or they latch onto her because her confidence makes up for the confidence they’re lacking, and eventually, she walks away from them. Men have told me I’m intimidating. Men have told me they feel they have nothing to offer me. How wrong they were. But still, it kept me alone.

But the pendulum always swings back in the other direction. My defenses served me well, as they do all women who are trying to protect themselves. But my perspective has changed again. I’m in a different place in life and the tint on the lense has changed once more. I’ve healed. And now I realize… I don’t want to be so strong.

Men, take note. When you meet a woman, regardless of how tough her façade is, treat her as if she’s delicate. Because she is. Recognize that even if she’s the CEO of some big corporation, she still worries about what you think of her. She still feels insecurities and is thrown out of her element by hormones from time to time. When she questions you, open your eyes to the reason behind her questions. Even if she’s a beautiful, intelligent, seemingly confident woman, she still wants/needs that one man to show her kindness and affection. She needs his reassurance. If she walks away angry, she wants him to follow. She’ll show her insecurity with defensiveness. Ignore her walls. Let her know that you see through them and that you’ll walk through them and that you’ll be there to catch her when she needs you.

Even the strongest woman needs a man who lets her be soft and sensitive. We want to be the weaker sex. When a man recognizes this and treats us accordingly, it’s like a sigh of relief. A burden taken off of us that we’ve been carrying since the first time we caught a glimpse of how cruel the world can be. When you see what’s underneath our tough outer shell, you give us permission to be the person we really are… be the thing that comes natural to us. Feminine. And it elevates that man in our minds to be the only one who ‘gets it’. The one who makes us feel safe. He is the man; she is the woman.

His woman.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Samuel
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 18:24:37

    Men should know this, but of course, there’s a LOT of things guys should know, but don’t.

    I like your approach to life and adulthood. I admire your tenacity.

    I hope you find the right dynamic with someone that works for you both.

    good post, youngster =)

    Reply

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