We are the lions that sleep amongst sheep. Drawn to weak men who seek strong women that represent that which they cannot give themselves. Yet, whilst we are strong and capable, we have also learned to be soft, to be vulnerable, to understand our weaknesses do not define us, nor do they serve as representation of our whole.

We have learnt to be lovers, to be caregivers, to be mothers, whilst having to fend for ourselves. We have needed to be courageous whilst the world around us has been cruel. We are held accountable, held to a standard by those who do not do so for themselves. They see us as fragile, yet we have shown more toughness in one single menstrual cycle than most have shown in a lifetime.

We have been their saviours. We have been their muses and inspiration. We have wept for them when they could not weep themselves. We have also wept because of them, because they could not encompass the totality of their being. We have suffered through their insufferable hatred of themselves. And not hardened but softened ever more.

They have been shallow, cold, manipulative and when we have shown them love, empathy, forgiveness and understanding in return, they have perceived it as weakness, disqualified us as adversaries and left us for dead. Still, we go on.

I think of soft hearts and gentle curves and how they have been grabbed at, abused and broken. How we have offered our hopes and dreams and opened our doors to the possibility of a shared existence only to have them robbed and burned. Yet we build again and again and we do not lose hope.

We are the fearless, who have lived through the destruction. Battered and bruised but never defeated. Shedding ourselves each month so that we may one day bear their children. Giving life to a broken world.

We are the representation of all that they fear they will never be man enough to be. Soft yet powerful. Afraid yet courageous. Broken yet not bitter. We embody the duality that they have been taught to hide. We have been teachers when the lessons were unwilling to be learnt. We have forgiven even when it has been impossible to forget.

And we stand amongst the flock, ever more willing to take on the burden of their inabilities to feed themselves. We nurture when we could destroy. We cradle when we could suffocate out of the collective sorrow, bred by their misunderstandings of themselves.

We are the lions and you will know us by our roar.