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The War Paint of the 21st Century Woman

The alarm goes off too early, always too early. As she drags herself out of bed, groaning with the effort, she wishes, as she so often does, that she could have just a little more rest.

She surveys herself in the bathroom mirror.

Her face is haggard, the stress lines readily apparent in her once-youthful face. She is drawn to the dark, puffy circles under her eyes, and shakes her head in frustration.

Those eyes. She never seems to be able to get them under control. She may have the rest of the world convinced that she can do it all, but the shadowed bags under her eyes, those constant companions of her, always betray her.

As she has done every morning for as long as she can remember, she pulls out her concealer and begins to dab at the traitorous puffy circles. Like magic, they disappear, melting away as though they had never even existed.

This is the war paint of the 21st century woman.

The woman who is expected to hold down a full-time job, take care of her home and children, volunteer in the PTA, raise money for her chosen charitable cause, and more…all while looking impeccable with her manicured nails and perfectly coiffed hair. The woman who must keep all the balls in the air, no matter how much sleep the juggling costs her. The woman who can never let on how strained her marriage is, how she hates going into work every day, how much she yearns for a day to herself and a full night’s sleep.

This is the woman who is expected to put everyone else’s needs before her own, and to do it with a smile. The woman who daily battles demands on her time that could not be accomplished by three normal people. Yet somehow she always manages to get it all done.

In order to complete such Herculean efforts, the first thing the woman of the 21st century sacrifices is herself. Her needs, her free time, her sleep.

Every night she tries to squeeze in as much rest as she can, but between the kids, and working late, and taking care of her husband and friends, there is never enough time to get a proper night’s rest.

And so, every morning, she rises and puts her war paint on yet again.

The makeup that conceals the stress, the sleepless nights and harried days, the personal needs that are ignored over and over again. In her war paint, she can continue to pretend to be an invincible superwoman. She can continue to pretend to be someone she’s not.

There is value in fighting for a cause you believe in. But the woman of the 21st century fights to simply be. Isn’t it time she stopped fighting and finally rested?

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