The women in my world are warrior women.
They are strong. They are brave. They are courageous.
They are not warrior women because they are flawless or because they live perfect lives or because they never fall apart.
They are warrior women because when they do fall apart they find the strength to write themselves back together again.
They are brave enough to share their stories. They are courageous enough to show their scars because they know their words can help heal other women’s wounds.
The women in my world are warrior women. They are women like Erin Shaw Street who recently wrote an essay for TuesNight titled “My Rock Bottom Came in a Party Dress and Heels,” in which she revealed her struggles with alcohol abuse. Though it may have seemed to others that Erin, who had a high profile magazine job and the journalism career she’d always dreamed of as a girl, had the perfect life, she writes that she “drank over life, and nearly lost it all in the process.”
But she didn’t in part because of the stories of other women. Erin is in recovery now and her healing process has included reading the stories of women other women who’ve had similar struggles, women like writers Caroline Knapp and Mary Karr, ABC anchor Elizabeth Vargas and professional soccer player Abby Wambach.
“We are everywhere. We are successful and shiny; we are broken up and busted. And we welcome new women seeking hope every day, saying, “You can do this” and then providing tangible ways to live without numbing.”
The women in my world are warrior women. They are women like Adrienne M. Nixon who has blogged about how her recent divorce almost cost her her business. Though Adrienne refuses to discuss the details of her divorce, demonstrating to us perfectly how to set boundaries while still being vulnerable, she does share that she’d started using her divorce as an excuse to no longer show up in life and in her business. It was, she says, “the best excuse ever.”
“For a good while I stopped EVERYTHING. I wasn’t blogging consistently, I wasn’t posting on social media consistently, I wasn’t sewing consistently. NOTHING. Why? I was using my new excuse. It WORKED. People understood. I stopped taking orders. I stopped talking to my friends. I stopped going to my church. EVERYTHING just stopped. I had nothing at all to give. Period.”
Then Adrienne had a revelation.”If you ALWAYS have an excuse, you just don’t want it enough,” she writes.
But she knew she wanted it all. She wanted a successful business and she wanted to be happy, but excuses weren’t going to get her closer to either of those goals.
Today, Adrienne is back on track and admits writing helped get her there. “I started journaling again. HEAVILY. Keeping track of ALL my thoughts. My emotions, my feelings,” she shares in her post. “I’m so excited about this next chapter and I can not WAIT to share what is to come.”
The women in my world are warrior women. They are women like Melissa Scott who boldly blogged about being raped and emotionally abused in college. For years, Melissa wouldn’t call what happened to her at age 19 rape. Shame kept her silent.
“In all of my writing and blogging about deeply personal aspects of my life, I never mentioned it, because it felt like something to be ashamed of,” she writes in her blog post.
But then, “a recording surfaced of the man who could be president in a month, talking about forcing himself on women,” Melissa writes. And she knew she then had to share her story for the same of these women because, she says, “I am these women.”
Melissa shows us how to do work beyond the page, too. She volunteers with the rape response program at the Crisis Center here in Birmingham.
“I’m not ashamed now. I recognize the young, vulnerable girl I was and how I was taken advantage of. I don’t recognize that as a victim, but as a survivor. It was another storm I weathered, and I’m stronger and more self-aware for it.”
The pen is mightier than the sword, so will you take up arms, Warrior Woman, and share your story?
Will you be courageous?
Will you be brave?