Hi Crafty friends! I have a super strong friend, Whitney. She’s strong in many ways – physically, mentally, emotionally. And she’s got a strong baby girl. And they’re part of a strong family. She’s giving us some amazing thoughts today!

What is “Strong is strong” and why does it matter to me?

“Strong is strong” is pushing back against the “strong is beautiful” message. “Strong is beautiful” is something that has bothered me for awhile now.

I think that “strong is beautiful” was started with good intentions. But, it is messages like these that trap us in the mindset that our bodies, our strength, and most importantly our “self” is there for someone else. It tells us that we can be strong as long as it is still beautiful. That, really, beauty is really what we should be focusing on. That above all else, we should always try to stay beautiful.

In our culture, a woman’s value is based nearly 100% on her looks. It doesn’t matter what else she has achieved her looks will always be talked about (and often will be the first thing talked about).

For me, this all really hit home when I got pregnant in July 2018. I have always been an active person and knew that I wanted an active, unmedicated labor. Since I have trained for many half and full marathons, I thought I would train for labor like I trained for my races (that didn’t work out, but THAT is another story 🙂 ).

When I Googled things like, “exercises for a strong pregnancy” and “how to build strength during pregnancy” none of the results were actually about health. The results were all about “how to have a belly only pregnancy,” “how to avoid weight gain in your thighs during pregnancy,” and similar results.

I hated it! I was flat out angry. Pregnancy is a time, more than ever, when a woman should be focusing on health and caring for her body. Not worrying about weight! Especially since the weight gained during pregnancy is CRITICAL to recovering from labor and delivery and for breastfeeding (fun fact: your body stores fat in your hips and thighs during pregnancy because that is where it pulls from to make breastmilk).

This is all a long way of saying, “I’m over it.” Women are more than the sum of their parts. Women are more than their looks. Women, and all people, have intrinsic, unalienable value.

Strong isn’t beautiful. Beauty is overrated bullsh*t. Strength is so much more than that. Strength is real. Strength is lasting. Strength is earned. Strength is hardwork. It takes grit. It takes work. It helps you get through times when you just want to give up. It isn’t something that someone else can give you. Strength doesn’t fit into a box. And your strength, what it means to you, truly cannot be defined by someone else’s standard.

Strength comes in all forms — physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. So, let’s celebrate strength for itself, for who it makes us and how we’ve built it.

In April, my daughter was born. I think a lot about the world I grew up in and about the world I want to fight for her to have. I want her to know that she doesn’t have to be anything other than who she is or worry about if her looks will define her as a person.

I want her to know that she can be strong and that … strong is strong.

We turned Whitney’s idea into this awesome shirt. Celebrate strong with us.

#strongisstrong shirt