A Strong Woman

My mother named me Dorothy
Not after a girl in blue gingham
Not after Jerry Maguire’s crush
I was named after her Grandmother
The Strongest woman she ever knew
A woman with a pilot’s license
And a bachelor’s degree, before it was fashionable for women to have one
A woman who became a single mother
After her husband disappeared with all the other prisoners of war
His dog tags disappeared too

I never met her
But her remains are haphazardly spread around me
Her jewelry
Her Vanity
Her books
Her brother’s paintings
Hell, even her bed
One day it will all be mine
You see, that’s what I fear
Because no matter how hard I try
Because no matter how much I pretend
I am not as strong a woman as she was

I am the Shell of a Strong woman
I read Elizabeth Wurtzel and Sylvia Plath
But I am not as strong as they are
Not even close
Biologically I am a woman
Everything about me in entirely woman
My curves
My smile
Everything about me, except my heart
It is entirely too quixotic and girlish to belong to a woman, a strong woman
It swings on swing sets in the park
It plays dress up
It doesn’t know lust
It hasn’t yet sinned
My heart dances too much for me to be a strong woman
One only has to say “Hello”
To leave me weak and muttering wishful phrases like
“You had me at hello”
What strong woman falls in love with everyone she meets?

My heart is much too youthful for me to be a woman
My heart still sees me as a girl with knotted brown hair
Unlike the strong women before me
My heart has never known pain
True pain
For strength is born from pain
I masquerade as a strong woman
Even though I know
One must survive to know strength.

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