10 Signs You’re a Strong, Fierce, Real Woman

I’ve taught and coached women for years. Women from 10 years old to 80, from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds, gay, straight, and gender fluid – each woman a unique and essential being coming into her voice.

As unique as each woman was and continues to be, I’ve noticed most of us experience a few common core yearnings. We want to feel at home in our skin, be seen and heard for who we are, be our whole, full-throated selves, no editing or suppressing.

To inhabit these places, we need to unlearn most of what society and our culture has taught us to believe about ourselves. It’s almost as if the world begins at birth, wrapping each child in unending layers of what they want us to be until our original fire is sufficiently smothered for us to pose no danger to the status quo. But our fire never entirely goes out, does it? Some of us have smoldered for decades.

As we unlearn, we unwrap, revealing a dream here, an innovative thought there, revealing power, capacities and kindnesses. Unfurling arms strong enough to rebuild a crumbling society, generous enough to help a struggling sister unknot a stubborn strand, tender enough to hold a brother as he weeps.

As we unlearn, we become fierce with selfhood.

How we express this is as individual as our fingerprints. There is no one way to be, no one valuable contribution to make. Our value is in our diversity. And, like our yearnings, how we express our selfhood carries some common themes worth noticing. These commonalities aren’t stone tablet rules. They’re more like road signs or prompts. They’re behaviors that tell you you’re still standing strong in yourself. If some are missing, you know it might be time to unlearn and unwrap a bit more.

Strong, fierce, real women…

… revel in their senses (all 6 of them) and use them to stay in their body.
… work with their natural internal rhythms and the rhythms of their ecosystem to find the pace at which life needs to move for them to thrive.
… are deeply and intentionally present to everything in life.
… befriend their fears and dialog with their doubts.
… bring their whole self to whatever they are being and doing.
… know they can’t be everything to everyone…and that it’s OK.
… appreciate and support other fierce, unwrapping, unlearning women and men.
… can say no…and it’s OK.
… have a solid spiritual foundation whether it’s traditional, non-traditional or entirely unique.
… are fiercely compassionate, especially with themselves.

We need a rising of strong, fierce, real women…now. Are you in?

Tracie Nichols writes poetry and facilitates group writing experiences from under the wide reach of two old Sycamore trees in southeastern Pennsylvania. She is the co-founder of the Embodied Writers writing group and a Transformative Language Artist helping women write themselves home. You can find Tracie on her website.

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