On that day I awoke unsure of what it was exactly that I was feeling. I looked in the mirror at the woman who stood on the other side and questioned the last time she had felt...deeply. When was the last time she had been moved? She had spent so much of her existence being strong, that she never explored her own humanity. So much time surviving, she never enjoyed the experience of living. While seldom afforded the opportunity or luxury to be seen as weak, life constantly required that she remain strong and super human, while carrying others on her back and their burdens and baggage in her arms. With the constant kicking of ass and leaping tall buildings with a single bound - her superhero strength often left her depleted. As much as she valued her resilience, strength is no longer a compliment to her. She was taught, better yet, forced to put smiles on the faces of others, while content in her frown. She held herself completely together as she took on the world, only to fall to pieces in solitude. She despised the expectation, to always plow through it all without feeling - to be numb to experience, and impermissible in feeling pain. But it was she who chose strength - the mask of perfection and control that led to path of her own destruction. She longed for moments of softness and fragility, fearful that she would be seen as wallowing in her victimhood or looking for sympathy. In that moment, she decided that she could not be everywhere and be everything to everyone. It was then that she chose not to be seen for and defined by her strength, but to spend some moments as simply ... human. She felt her shoulders drop ... "I want tenderness and delicacy in my life." She took a deep breath in ... "I am worthy enough to be handled with care. It is okay to ask for help." "I want to experience vulnerability and not be defined by my strength." "I am not concrete. I am not impenetrable. My back gets tired and my arms get heavy. It is okay to rest. It is my reminder that I am human. It is okay to care for others as long as I am first loving on me..." The small whispering chant evolved into a soft prayer and then roared into a declaration. The tears that began to stream her face, for the first time cleansed the impurities of her own soul and were not used in the washing of others. ...on that last exhale she opened her eyes and saw the world as not a child or a victim, but a woman who embraced her entire being. She desired a deep appreciation of her journey and not resent it because it had the potential to leave her tattered. This was a new chapter. One that not only others, but also she could understand the need to discover, embrace and nurture all the pieces of herself. It was there in her vulnerability that she began to discover pieces of her freedom. The only space to find refuge and allow the moments of softness and fragility she so desperately sought. It was there her strength was unwelcome. She felt herself move towards the woman she was created to be and away from who she was conditioned to become. For the first time in a long time, she had chosen herself. It was an amazing and momentous day.