The Marks of a True Warrior

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So what makes a woman a woman? By definition, a woman is:

wom•an (ˈwʊm ən) 

n., pl. wom•en (ˈwɪm ɪn) 

adj. n.

1. an adult female person, as distinguished from a girl or a man.

2. a wife.

3. a female lover or sweetheart.

4. a female servant or attendant.

5. women collectively; womankind.

6. the nature, characteristics, or feelings often attributed to women; womanliness.

adj.

7. female.

Does that even begin to explain what a WOMAN actually is? In some ways the definition feels insulting, a lessening of worth…dare I say, second rate?

How about the definition of warrior?

war·ri·or  (wôr′ē-ər, wŏr′-)

n.

1. One who is engaged in or experienced in battle.

2. One who is engaged aggressively or energetically in an activity, cause, or conflict.

Ha! Now that’s sounding more like it. “One who is engaged aggressively or energetically in an activity, cause or conflict.” 

Those two words WOMAN and WARRIOR can’t possibly be mutually exclusive. Because really they are one and the same. Maybe all warriors are not women, but by definition all women ARE warriors. How is that for a swift reality check?

Women come in all shapes, sizes, and genetic make up.

All are daughters. Some are sisters and cousins. There are those that become wives. The choice to become a mother, unfortunately, is not always made by the woman herself. No matter the path or the decisions made, we women are warriors. 

Each one of us has a story to tell.

Of course, we could do the usual thing and tell our biographical story with words. There is nothing wrong with that. It allows for plenty of discussion in a more common way. There is space for that. A lot. 

What about the parts we do not speak about as much. Or just plainly, try to hide? The battle scars. The many a tear, both unhappy AND happy. Sleepless nights. Hormonal changes. Stress. Quiet joys. Surgeries, both required and not. Marks both physical and psychological that mold us as we continue our ever-spurring evolution.

Each decade brings its gifts and woes.

Each win is a conquered territory of self. The losses are also an illumination leading us to, hopefully, be better. We should be constantly finding ways to accept our imperfectly perfect selves. All of it should be celebrated. 

To acknowledge one another is to acknowledge thy self.

We are on a shared journey. There is no doubt about it. The all-encompassing “nod of acknowledgment” is our love language. 

Our warrior marks are the dark circles, sleep creases, cellulite, and stretch marks. It’s the extra skin, bunions, and scars visible and invisible. The list is endless. They are caused by many things. Some of it is trying to keep up with societal norms. Others caused by selfless determination. Bad or good, they normally stem from LOVE. Self-love or lack thereof.

The marks of a true warrior.

The other day I caught a flash of reflection in the mirror as I walked busily past. Something made me stop and go back. I looked at myself. I looked tired and dare I say, older. My eyes settled in on the crow’s feet. Delicate little wrinkles surrounding the outer edges of my eyes. I touched them gingerly and then suddenly smiled. 

The act of doing so only hardened the cracks in my skin. I smiled harder. I thought of the laughs I’ve been having with my eight-year-old lately and always, really. The loud chuckles that occur daily due to the exploration of my almost one-year-old. The giggles and hearty laughs I share with my husband, family, and friends. Equally as important now as they were in my teens and twenties. 

You see, these lines aren’t wrinkles. They are badges of happy times. Genuine times. Fulfilling times. Because they come from something beautiful, they make me feel beautiful. As I embrace those I continue efforts to accept the other marks that, tell my story and that have and continue to, mold me. 

The stories are many. Some good, others bad. There isn’t an epic story without a warrior. In mine, I am the woman. I am the warrior. So let me remind you to embrace every bit of yourself.

Celebrate yourself. Love thy self.

You, friend, are the mark of a true warrior!

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Bianca Bain Villegas arrived to Pensacola in 2015 and readily embraced the local culture and history. She and her husband feel genuinely grateful for the opportunity to raise their two young daughters here. Originally from Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia, her Caribbean heritage and worldly ideology imparted to her by her parents and extended family, largely influence the outlook she has on parenting, life and the experiences that they afford. Having family and friends that live around the world and having completed her education in London and Madrid, only furthers her love of travel, different cultures and the need to have a deeper understanding of it all. Locally, you can find Bianca actively participating in historic preservation, neighborhood action, or service in the community through civic engagement. Her belief is that nurturing a community is as important as the families we choose to raise in our homes - we get back what we put out.

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