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“…no matter how much I asserted my strength and independence as a woman (“hear me roar”), my heart as a woman remained empty. To be told when you are younger and searching that, “you can be anything” is not helpful. It’s too vast. It gives no direction. To be told when you are older that “you can do anything a man can do” isn’t helpful, either. I didn’t want to be a man. What does it mean to be a woman?”

This small paragraph from the book struck me. For years I have felt the struggle of competing with men to be at least equal with them, out of intimidation, fear, and regret. I believe it all began when I turned 14. I had just been exposed to the way a man can affect a woman emotionally, and then seeing my friends get boyfriends, or just being chased by boys who wished they could ask them out was only the beginning of one big snowball effect.

By the time I was nearly 15 I was already deciding it was cool to wear boys clothes. I started sitting like a boy (I know, awkward) and walking like a boy. I cut my hair VERY short, (I’m talking Jamie Lee Curtis short) and enjoyed the concept of not having to do my hair in the morning. I bought some skate shoes (boys skate shoes), and that was all I wore. I occasionally wore earrings, but that was only to hang on to the fact that I felt if I didn’t, there would be no mistaking me for a boy. Make-up was also something that I really liked wearing, (and wearing a lot of it) to make sure that people knew my gender, but knew not to mess with me.

All in all, everything I did left me exactly as Stasi explains- it left me with an empty and longing heart.

It’s a man’s world. And in this world women are degraded (as are men) to being toys for pleasure. Our roles have been twisted by society and  as a result of this, we try to compensate to protect ourselves. What we aren’t realizing, is that working so hard to compete is crushing our heart. The heart in us that is longing to be loved. I struggle with this GREATLY.The moment I walk into a conversation where a male is participating, my personality shifts into a fierceness that is not my own; it is practiced, fake, and overbearing- often causing me to lose those male friends and completely destroy the gentle spirit of the Lord that should remain in all of us. There is a time and a place for everything, and certainly I will use my strong and fierce side when the Lord tells me to use it. But the place is certainly not in constantly trying to compete with a male, simply because he is male and I assume the worst of him.

This battle has been going on for so long. Even though now (after years of growing and forcing myself to let loose) I have long hair and dont mind being a gentled spirit at times, I still struggle with this. I may not always act upon it, but in my heart I always assume that the male race is out to belittle me. When in reality this is far from true, and I am judging my brothers in Christ too swiftly without valid reason.

It has seemed (and still does seem at times) as though the world is telling me to be a certain kind of woman. That the parts of me that cry, that are compassionate, the aspects of allowing myself to feel or act feminine in my speech, the way I dress, the friends I choose, the way I interact with men, all seem to be unimportant and forbidden by the world.

“My story is like most women’s stories- we’ve received all sorts of messages but very little help in what it means to become a woman.”

Stasi later talks in this section, about the proverbs 31 woman.

I love proverbs 31. This part of scripture depicts a woman who is committed to serving her family and husband. However- as times change, a woman’s role will also change. The key (as I am learning from this book) is to not allow the HEART to change. Woman can pick up guns and march to war. Women can lead businesses making millions. Women can do almost anything a man can-but she cannot deny what she is; A woman. And in filling such roles, as a single mother, a business owner, or a soldier in the military, she can be strong, courageous, but still she is a woman- that fact cannot be changed or denied and thus she will approach these roles from a different direction than a man. If we, as women, attempt to approach these things from a mans perspective and direction, we will only cause ourselves further confusion.

Believe me…it’s confusing. And heartbreaking.

It reliefs me to know that in my journey to become a woman of God, that I am not alone in these struggles. Feeling like a delicate princess is often hard when it seems it’s impossible to survive that way- especially if you know you’re not the prettiest pick.