A friend of mine once commented to me that she knew I was her kind of girl when she heard I was moving to London all by myself. It takes someone strong, apparently, to leave a sleepy little country at the bottom of the world and plant themselves in the middle of the eternal hubbub that is London, and doing it without a man is only for the truly badass.
Which isn’t really me at all.
I wouldn’t have moved here alone if I’d had anyone to move with. I would have loved to do this with a lovely man. That’s my idea of what a boyfriend is actually: someone you’d rather do things with than without. It would have been great to have someone to help with all the difficult parts (or just take care of them while I read a book even) but I am alone in the world at the moment so that is how I had to move.
I say alone, but I’m not, of course, and never have been. I have amazing friends who let me stay with them and bought me ice cream and didn’t judge me when I freaked out because I’d realised that all the flats in the city were completely horrible and I was never going to find somewhere to live which was just as well as I would never be able to afford the crazy rent they all ask for and oh my, I need to take a moment…
And there you are. I sound like a whiny nymphet who needs a man to take care of her.
Because that’s the thing about feminine strength, I think. When you talk about women being strong you picture Amazonian goddesses striding across the city, trampling evil beneath their feet and vaporising financial stress and domestic inconvenience with The Mighty Sword of Awesome!
I have never in my life felt like that.
I didn’t feel strong when my back and arms were aching from shifting all my worldly goods (and some of my goods are pretty worldly) from car to plane to bus to plane to taxi to train twenty million times. I didn’t feel strong when I had to go to an internet cafe to print out CVs and they charged me 30p a page and I just PAID because I didn’t realise there was a Ryman’s around the corner who would’ve done it for 10p. I didn’t feel strong the day I flat out ran out of money and stood in my bedroom breathless and teary with no idea what to do next. And I don’t feel strong today, when having found out my flat has to be sold, the thought of setting viewing times is enough to make me curl up under my desk with a blanket and an entire cake and stay there for the rest of forever.
The ideal of strong females (or stremales) is intimidating and it’s misleading and I say away with it! It’s been said before, but I don’t give a crap: being strong doesn’t mean that everything is easy for you; it means that stuff is bleeding difficult and you do it anyway because it is just there to be done. If someone appears to find everything easy, it’s either because they don’t ever do things that are difficult or they do not choose to let you see their struggle.
So, it’s ok to want to sometimes stay under the covers in the foetal position. We all do. But only stay there for a moment, ‘cause there’s shit to do out here.
Janina is a London-living Kiwi. She trained as an actress, and makes (what she claims to be) the best chocolate cake in the world*. She is a storyteller lady with a lovely little website, which you can find here –> myrednotebook.com. You can also follow her on @J9London.
*Game on. A xx