Young or old, we all know the amazing abilities of Wonder Woman! She was an Amazon Princess trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Whether it was Lynda Carter or Gal Gadot, we admired her strength, power and perseverance.
In our own little world, sometimes we all feel like we have to be Wonder Women! Often our roles in life are multi-faceted, multi-dimensional and downright overwhelming. But we know deep down, we can handle almost anything that gets in our way. After all, in Helen Reddy’s song “I Am Woman” we learned that:
Oh yes, I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong—strong
I am invincible—invincible
I am woman!
Here is where I am supposed to applaud the song. Sorry, I can’t.
Now let’s get a dose of reality. Wonder Woman is a fictional superhero in American comic books published by DC Comics. She is a founding member of the Justice League and first made her appearance in 1941. For nearly 80 years, we have looked at Wonder Woman as a Goddess, an Amazon, a Warrior, and a human filled with love and compassion. Tough act to follow.
Helen Reddy first sang “I Am Woman” in 1971. She explained why she wrote it:
“I couldn’t find any songs that said what I thought being woman was about. I thought about all these strong women in my family who had gotten through the Depression and world wars and drunken, abusive husbands. But there was nothing in music that reflected that. The only songs were ‘I Feel Pretty’ or that dreadful song ‘Born A Woman’. (The 1966 hit by Sandy Posey had observed that if you’re born a woman “you’re born to be stepped on, lied to, cheated on and treated like dirt. I’m glad it happened that way”.) These are not exactly empowering lyrics. I certainly never thought of myself as a songwriter, but it came down to having to do it.”
I applaud the reason Helen Reddy wrote the song, but I really do not think it is fair for women to believe the lyrics. Yes, I am woman. Yes, I have wisdom some born of pain, some because of lessons from people I love and admire. Yes, sometimes I’m strong… and sometimes I just want to cry. Are you surprised, that there are times when I, Tiffany James, want to say, “Stop The World I Want to Get Off?” I can assure you that there have been times in my life that were indeed “life or death” where I learned the lesson that I was not in control. There was absolutely nothing I could do to impact the outcome. And for that moment I was defeated—I was not all powerful. Yes, I am woman, but I am not invincible!
Recently I read a great article by a woman named Mary Wright. It was titled, “Even the Strongest Person Gets Tired Of Being Strong And Needs A Break.” The title very much resonated with me. Because of a variety of challenges in my life over the last couple of years, most of which few know about, our wonderful son Jamie realized the “great and wonderful” Tiffany James….needed a relaxing break. He reached out to my sisters and arranged a get-away. It was only for 6 days.
One day all we did was stay at home and watch Netflix. Of course, we were drinking champagne. I didn’t have access to my computer. I wasn’t in Hawaii. There were no Dr. appointments. I made virtually no decisions –I left it up to my sisters. No one asked for my counsel –well maybe my sisters did –but that doesn’t count. I can’t break all of my “control habits” at once. It was a wonderful week. At first, I was going to say “amazing”, but it wasn’t. It was relaxing, fun, peaceful and allowed me to get centered and ready to continue in this journey called life with renewed strength.
According to Webster, the opposite of strong is weak. The last thing ANY woman wants to be called is weak. Hearing that word probably makes us want to vomit. So, from now on, whenever we are losing or have lost our sense of strength, let’s embrace it and simply acknowledge that, “Today, I am taking a well-deserved short vacation or long hiatus from being strong.” Your time frame can be a day, a week or whatever it takes you to re-group, nurture yourself and move on.
Think about this, If we all agree that perfection is overrated, we certainly can agree to be “Imperfectly Strong!”