"...strong is what we make each other..." a repost in preparation for The Women's March

The following post is a repost from last year's International Women's Day which. It felt apropos to post today, the week before the Women's March. Photos individually credited, here. 
56c79a051e00002200702737Jose CABEZAS/AFP/Getty Images

One of the first articles I clicked on this morning -- on this International Women's Day was this extraordinary collection of photos/stories of female protest worldwide, and as I scrolled through and read the stories of these women, all of whom REFUSED to accept status quo -- who continue to REFUSE... who fight EVERY DAY for their lives and livelihood,  I thought of another poem by the remarkable Marge Piercy... about strength in the face of weakness and the power of vulnerability, about what it means today to be a woman and what it has ALWAYS meant to be a girl, about solidarity and camaraderie and the harmony of female voices whose megaphones were pulled from the ribs of every Eve who ever dared refuse an Adam.... About the GLOBAL village and who is doing what to raise whom

Because in the same way it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to embolden her -- to empower her and elevate her world. And so. Today, and every other day, I salute our international community of women and girls with love and gratitude -- for teaching and raising and risking, and pushing and powering on.  I salute you. 

For Strong Women
by: Marge Piercy

A strong woman is a woman who is straining 56c79a041500002b000b065a
A strong woman is a woman standing
on tiptoe and lifting a barbell
while trying to sing “Boris Godunov.”
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A strong woman is a woman at work
cleaning out the cesspool of the ages,
and while she shovels, she talks about
how she doesn’t mind crying, it opens
the ducts of the eyes, and throwing up
develops the stomach muscles, and
she goes on shoveling with tears in her nose.
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A strong woman is a woman in whose head
a voice is repeating, I told you so,
ugly, bad girl, bitch, nag, shrill, witch,
ballbuster, nobody will ever love you back,
why aren’t you feminine, why aren’t
you soft, why aren’t you quiet, why aren’t you dead?
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A strong woman is a woman determined
to do something others are determined
not be done. She is pushing up on the bottom
of a lead coffin lid. She is trying to raise
a manhole cover with her head, she is trying
to butt her way through a steel wall.
Her head hurts. People waiting for the hole
to be made say, hurry, you’re so strong.
A strong woman is a woman bleeding
inside. A strong woman is a woman making
herself strong every morning while her teeth
loosen and her back throbs. Every baby,
a tooth, midwives used to say, and now
every battle a scar.
56c799f31e0000230070e6a7 56c79a061500002b000b065b A strong woman
is a mass of scar tissue that aches
when it rains and wounds that bleed
when you bump them and memories that get up
in the night and pace in boots to and fro.
A strong woman is a woman who craves love
like oxygen or she turns blue choking.
A strong woman is a woman who loves
strongly and weeps strongly and is strongly
terrified and has strong needs. A strong woman is strong
in words, in action, in connection, in feeling;
she is not strong as a stone but as a wolf
suckling her young. Strength is not in her, but she
enacts it as the wind fills a sail.
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What comforts her is others loving
her equally for the strength and for the weakness
from which it issues, lightning from a cloud.
Lightning stuns. In rain, the clouds disperse.
Only water of connection remains,
flowing through us. Strong is what we make
each other. Until we are all strong together,
a strong woman is a woman strongly afraid.