Tuesday, 8 March 2016

On 'Weakness': International Women's Day 2016

I'm writing this post at the last minute, I hadn't intended to write anything about International Women's Day. But it felt right too.

This weekend Rich came to stay for my birthday weekend. We spent an afternoon playing board games with my friends and an evening with my family; we went out for a stunning meal at The Harwood Arms in Fulham; and yesterday we went to Harry Potter Studios and saw David Attenborough in conversation about his life and work.

This morning, before the parking restrictions on my road kicked in, Rich was up, delivering tissues to me in bed (I have a streaming cold) and kissing me goodbye before he went back to Portsmouth.

As I write this, tears are streaming down my face. I hate saying goodbye to him, it hurts like you wouldn't believe. And it still hurts, even though I have a date in my diary for starting a new job and moving to Portsmouth. The end of this long distance relationship is in sight but I still cry every time he leaves. And the tears aren't just for him - they're for saying goodbye to the friends and family I have on my doorstep. They're for saying goodbye to the hometown I love.

I cry because it hurts, because I'm scared of the change that's coming, because I need the limbo time to be over.

This is a traditionally 'female' thing - to cry over things, to get 'emotional' about life. I don't think I'm wrong in saying this is also traditionally considered a weakness.

While crying can be ugly and messy, loud, awkward, embarrassing, weak is the one thing it is not. Having the guts to be open and ugly in the face of something hard is gutsy. Mopping yourself up and getting on with it is brave and tough.

Do not be ashamed of your feelings. Do not be ashamed to let them run down your face and ruin your make up.

Here's to the women who raged against the things that made them cry and fought to change them. Here's to the women who cry over everything, happy or sad, and to the women that never cry. Here's to the men who aren't ashamed to 'cry like a girl'.

You are not weak if you cry and you're not weak if you don't. You are strong in your own way. You will change the world in your own way.

Here's to the women that came before, the women now and the women to come.

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