I know many women raised to be strong today. They were raised to power through and to fight back. So many of us wear our strength like an armor in a world that is always watching, ready to judge at any crack in our shield of strength. So many times, we hold our head high, we fight back the tears, and we wear that armor of strength in the façade we have mastered for the world.

But sometimes life sucks. Sometimes it’s damn hard and unfair. And the harshness of the world pierces through our armor. We hold our tears back from others and we gather our strength and keep marching forward. Whether we’re fighting health struggles, trudging through the early newborn days on limited sleep and patience, lost in the depths of depression or anxiety, trying to piece back together a marriage or our life after divorce, or overwhelmed in grief for the loss of a loved one, we think we have to be strong, but it’s OK to not be strong today.

Our kids, our spouses, our loved ones, and the people we serve in our communities and jobs depend on us, and we feel the need to power through. To put on our armor and shine through with the strength so many have come to know us for, but sometimes it’s OK to not be strong today.

Sometimes the struggles shatter us. Like broken glass our image of who we were to who we are now in light of our struggles and the mountains we must climb falls scattered at our feet in pieces, distorting where one part of us ends and another begins. As we struggle to gather the broken shards we think we must put ourselves back to together to the way everyone has known us to be, but it’s OK to not be her and not be strong today.

Even if and when we could piece all the pieces back together again, sometimes there’s no way to hide the cracks of imperfection in our forever altered image of life. Sometimes what is broken can never be fixed the same again. We mourn what we lost, we mourn who we were, we mourn what we can’t go back and change. Like shattered glass the truth of our new realities can shatter our sense of self, but it’s OK to not be strong today.

Just as there was no way to hide the cracks in the things we glue back together, sometimes the cracks in our armor will remain there for others to see. But there is light and beauty to be found in putting back the pieces of ourselves to create a new image, constructed of the shards of who we use to be. In displaying our truths and flaws we empower and inspire others that it’s OK to not be strong today.

When the moments in life are tough, beating down the armor we hold so tightly, it’s OK to lean on our sisters in arms. They will hold us up today and any day because it’s OK to not be strong today.

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Angela Williams Glenn

Angela Williams Glenn writes about the struggles and joys of motherhood on her website Stepping into Motherhood. Her book Moms, Monsters, Media, and Margaritas examines the expectations verse the realities of motherhood in our modern day digital era and her book Letters to a Daughter is an interactive journal for mothers to their daughters. She’s also been published with Chicken Soup for the Soul, TAAVI Village, Bored Teachers, and Filter Free Parents. You can find her on her Facebook page at Stepping into Motherhood.