By Ashley Chin Aleong
“It’s okay if you fall apart sometimes; tacos fall apart, and we still love them.”
I saw this as a meme when scrolling through social media, and it hit me. As women, young or old, some of us have this preconceived notion that we should be the holder and doer of all things, whether by choice or whether it was forced upon us by life circumstances.
I’ll be real with you: I’m exhausted. Do you feel me?
Superwomen: you know, the ones who can handle a million things at once without breaking a sweat? The ones working multiple jobs; or working multiple roles within one job. Or those mothers acting in both parental roles; or those that are chef, confidant, adviser, chauffeur, doctor, nurse, therapist, philanthropist, healer, entrepreneur, businesswoman all rolled into one.
I often referred to the women around me as superwomen and I continue to do so, but now in a much different way.
Stay with me.
I admire those superwomen around me who can juggle multiple roles and tasks at the same time, but I’ve found a greater admiration for those women who are able to say: ‘I’m tired’; ‘I can’t do it all on my own’; ‘I’m going to take care of myself today.’
I’m guilty of setting some heavy and tough goals for myself and am even harder on myself when I don’t meet them in the time that I set in my mind to do so.
Something about our millennial generation and even those before us being fed the stories that we must have everything figured out by this date or this age, was one of the reasons I put too much pressure on myself.
It made me feel that if I didn’t meet these targets, something about me or about my life or what I was doing was wrong.
If I’m not married by this age, BAD.
If I’m not a mother by this age, BAD. But also, if I’m a mother too soon, TERRIBLE.
If I don’t have a solid career or degree by that age, FAILURE.
It also caused me to look around me and compare myself and my journey to others, which heightened both my anxiety and my insecurities. But the most hurtful effect it had on me, is that I either stopped or didn’t bother to celebrate the myriad of little wins along my journey because in hindsight, I didn’t deem them worthy of celebration in comparison to the ‘big things’ I should have achieved by now.
But this is where we change things.
Your story is not their story. Your journey is not their journey. Your path to achieving your dreams is different from theirs. My story is not your story. Your story isn’t mine. Let’s stop treating it that way.
Life is hard enough without us giving it reasons to get worse by worrying or being anxious about the things that God has already worked out behind our backs. Life will knock you down and sucker punch the air straight out your body when you least expect it, and pretending that you don’t feel it only makes its effects worse.
It’s okay to feel the pain, the hurt, the anger, and the disappointment but the thing that makes us superwomen, in my eyes, is our ability to sit with it, deal with it, heal from it, and then get back up and change course if we must.
Don’t ever let anyone set expectations for you for a journey that they are NOT on, or for a life they are NOT living. Don’t let them tell you that you are weak because something hurt you. Instead, find strength in your emotions.
Do you know how many people don’t know how to feel their emotions? The same ones laughing at you for your tears are the same ones that hurt and lash out at other people when they are hurt or disappointed because they don’t know themselves, or their emotions well enough to process them.
Don’t let these be the ones who stop you from celebrating your strengths and wins on YOUR journey.
As I shared with you at the start: “It’s okay to fall apart sometimes, tacos fall apart, and we still love them.”
Your ability to be loved and cared for does not depend on your ability to handle everything life throws at you without breaking a sweat.