67 Quotes From Strong Female Voices Which Will Make You Feel Damn Proud To Be A Woman

Unsplash / Doug Robichaud
Unsplash / Doug Robichaud

Below is a collection of quotes from eight female writers. Their words speak to pain, empowerment, and the complicated nature of finding your identity in a world which is insistent on telling you who you are. These are the quotes (and women) I turn to when I need to remember my own strength. Hopefully, these quotes will move you as much as they move me.


Glennon Doyle Melton

“When her pain is fresh and new, let her have it. Don’t try to take it away. Forgive yourself for not having that power. Grief and pain are like joy and peace; they are not things we should try to snatch from each other. They’re sacred. They are part of each person’s journey. All we can do is offer relief from this fear: I am all alone. That’s the one fear you can alleviate.”


“The only meaningful thing we can offer one another is love. Not advice, not questions about our choices, not suggestions for the future, just love.”


“Be critical, fine, that’s fair. But don’t be cruel. Every damn one of us knows the difference.

If you are not kind on the internet, then you’re not kind.”


“If you feel something calling you to dance or write or paint or sing, please refuse to worry about whether you’re good enough. Just do it. Be generous. Offer a gift to the world that no one else can offer: yourself.”


“If we empty our hearts every night, they won’t get too heavy or cluttered. Our hearts will stay light and open with lots of room for good new things to come.”


“We are only envious of those already doing what we were made to do. Envy is a big flashing arrow pointing towards our destiny.”


Danielle LaPorte

“Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?”


“You will always be too much of something for someone: too big, too loud, too soft, too edgy. If you round out your edges, you lose your edge.”


“We must have the daring to be nothing but ourselves if we are to know what true power is.”


“Consider that you radiate. At all times. Consider that what you’re feeling right now is rippling outward into a field of is-ness that anyone can dip their oar into. You are felt. You are heard. You are seen. If you were not here, the world would be different. Because of your presence, the universe is expanding.”


“She was having a hard time managing her feelings at this point, mostly because she hadn’t felt them in so long—they confused her… After you’ve been numbed for a while, disorientation is a natural reaction as you come back around. It’s like waking up from anesthesia and not knowing exactly where you are.”


“The surest sign that you’re working with the life-affirming kind of discipline, rather than the spirit-depressing kind, is that you don’t complain very much about doing what it takes.”


“If your goals aren’t synced with the substance of your heart, then achieving them won’t matter much.”


“But what if we took it one step further and made an effort to actually transform our pain into something beautiful? What if we went full out and made an effort to transform other people’s pain into something beautiful?”


Zadie Smith

“The past is always tense, the future perfect.”


“You are never stronger…than when you land on the other side of despair.”


“It’s a funny thing about the modern world. You hear girls in the toilets of clubs saying, ‘Yeah, he fucked off and left me. He didn’t love me. He just couldn’t deal with love. He was too fucked up to know how to love me.’ Now, how did that happen? What was it about this unlovable century that convinced us we were, despite everything, eminently lovable as a people, as a species? What made us think that anyone who fails to love us is damaged, lacking, malfunctioning in some way? And particularly if they replace us with a god, or a weeping madonna, or the face of Christ in a ciabatta roll—then we call them crazy. Deluded. Regressive. We are so convinced of the goodness of ourselves, and the goodness of our love, we cannot bear to believe that there might be something more worthy of love than us, more worthy of worship. Greeting cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time.”


“Stop worrying about your identity and concern yourself with the people you care about, ideas that matter to you, beliefs you can stand by, tickets you can run on. Intelligent humans make those choices with their brain and hearts and they make them alone. The world does not deliver meaning to you. You have to make it meaningful… and decide what you want and need and must do. It’s a tough, unimaginably lonely and complicated way to be in the world. But that’s the deal: you have to live; you can’t live by slogans, dead ideas, clichés, or national flags. Finding an identity is easy. It’s the easy way out.”


“Any woman who counts on her face is a fool.”


“Time is how you spend your love.”


“When I write I am trying to express my way of being in the world. This is primarily a process of elimination: once you have removed all the dead language, the second-hand dogma, the truths that are not your own but other people’s, the mottos, the slogans, the out-and-out lies of your nation, the myths of your historical moment—once you have removed all that warps experience into a shape you do not recognise and do not believe in—what you are left with is something approximating the truth of your own conception.”


Roxane Gay

“I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I’m not trying to be an example. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I have all the answers. I am not trying to say I’m right. I am just trying—trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make some noise with my writing while also being myself.”


“It’s hard to be told to lighten up because if you lighten up any more, you’re going to float the fuck away.”


“I learned a long time ago that life introduces young people to situations they are in no way prepared for, even good girls, lucky girls who want for nothing. Sometimes, when you least expect it, you become the girl in the woods. You lose your name because another one is forced on you. You think you are alone until you find books about girls like you. Salvation is certainly among the reasons I read. Reading and writing have always pulled me out of the darkest experiences in my life. Stories have given me a place in which to lose myself. They have allowed me to remember. They have allowed me to forget. They have allowed me to imagine different endings and better possible worlds.”


“When you can’t find someone to follow, you have to find a way to lead by example.”


“People do terrible things all the time, but we don’t regularly disown our humanity. We disavow the terrible things.”


Gillian Flynn

“Tampon commercial, detergent commercial, maxi pad commercial, windex commercial—you’d think all women do is clean and bleed.”


“Love makes you want to be a better man. But maybe love, real love, also gives you permission to just be the man you are.”


“People love talking, and I have never been a huge talker. I carry on an inner monologue, but the words often don’t reach my lips.”


“A theme that has always interested me is how women express anger, how women express violence. That is very much part of who women are, and it’s so unaddressed. A vast amount of literature deals with cycles of violence about men, antiheroes. Women lack that vocabulary.”


“I often don’t say things out loud, even when I should. I contain and compartmentalize to a disturbing degree: In my belly-basement are hundreds of bottles of rage, despair, fear, but you’d never guess from looking at me.”


“It’s humbling, to become the very thing you once mocked.”


“I was told love should be unconditional. That’s the rule, everyone says so. But if love has no boundaries, no limits, no conditions, why should anyone try to do the right thing ever? If I know I am loved no matter what, where is the challenge? I am supposed to love Nick despite all his shortcomings. And Nick is supposed to love me despite my quirks. But clearly, neither of us does. It makes me think that everyone is very wrong, that love should have many conditions. Love should require both partners to be their very best at all times.”


“She’s easy to like. I’ve never understood why that’s considered a compliment—that just anyone could like you.”


“I waited patiently—years—for the pendulum to swing the other way, for men to start reading Jane Austen, learn how to knit, pretend to love cosmos, organize scrapbook parties, and make out with each other while we leer. And then we’d say, Yeah, he’s a Cool Guy.”


“Sometimes I think illness sits inside every woman, waiting for the right moment to bloom. I have known so many sick women all my life. Women with chronic pain, with ever-gestating diseases. Women with conditions. Men, sure, they have bone snaps, they have backaches, they have a surgery or two, yank out a tonsil, insert a shiny plastic hip. Women get consumed.”


Anne Lamott

“Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.”


“Joy is the best makeup.”


“And I felt like my heart had been so thoroughly and irreparably broken that there could be no real joy again, that at best there might eventually be a little contentment. Everyone wanted me to get help and rejoin life, pick up the pieces and move on, and I tried to, I wanted to, but I just had to lie in the mud with my arms wrapped around myself, eyes closed, grieving, until I didn’t have to anymore.”


“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”


“Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having had a better past.”


“You can either practice being right or practice being kind.”


“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.”


“Hope is not about proving anything. It’s about choosing to believe this one thing, that love is bigger than any grim, bleak shit anyone can throw at us.”


“Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived… Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation… Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist’s true friend. What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.”


“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”


“Part of me loves and respects men so desperately, and part of me thinks they are so embarrassingly incompetent at life and in love. You have to teach them the very basics of emotional literacy. You have to teach them how to be there for you, and part of me feels tender toward them and gentle, and part of me is so afraid of them, afraid of any more violation.”


“Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?”


Brené Brown

“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”


“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”


“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”


“We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.”


“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”


“The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.”


“Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change.”


“When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.”


“If you trade your authenticity for safety, you may experience the following: anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, rage, blame, resentment, and inexplicable grief.”


“Nostalgia is also a dangerous form of comparison. Think about how often we compare our lives to a memory that nostalgia has so completely edited that it never really existed.”


Warsan Shire

“At the end of the day, it isn’t where I came from. Maybe home is somewhere I’m going and never have been before.”


“It’s not my responsibility to be beautiful. I’m not alive for that purpose. My existence is not about how desirable you find me.”


“We emotionally manipulated one another until we thought it was love. Forgive me, I was lonely so I chose you.”


“How far have you walked for men who’ve never held your feet in their laps? How often have you bartered with bone, only to sell yourself short? Why do you find the unavailable so alluring? Where did it begin? What went wrong? And who made you feel so worthless? If they wanted you, wouldn’t they have chosen you? All this time, you were begging for love silently, thinking they couldn’t hear you, but they smelt it on you, you must have known that they could taste the desperate on your skin? And what about the others that would do anything for you, why did you make them love you until you could not stand it? How are you both of these women, both flighty and needful? Where did you learn this, to want what does not want you? Where did you learn this, to leave those that want to stay?”


“My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude.”


“Fit in here, in my palm, in my shadow. Don’t be bigger than my idea of you, don’t be more beautiful than I can accept, don’t be more human than i am willing to allow you to be and be quiet. You’re too loud, even your un-belonging is loud. Quiet your dreams, your voice, your hair, quiet your skin, quiet your displacement, quiet your longing, your colour, quiet your walk, your eyes. Who said you could look at me like that? Who said you could exist without permission? Why are you even here? Why aren’t you shrinking? I think of you often. You vibrate. You walk into a room and the temperature changes. I lean in and almost recognise you as human. But, no. We can’t have that.”


“I’m lovely and lonely. I belong deeply to myself.”


“I’m sorry that you were not truly loved and that it made you cruel.”


“You are a horse running alone and he tries to tame you, compares you to an impossible highway, to a burning house. Says you are blinding him, that he could never leave you, forget you, want anything but you. You dizzy him, you are unbearable. Every woman before or after you is doused in your name. You fill his mouth. His teeth ache with memory of taste, his body just a long shadow seeking yours. But you are always too intense, frightening in the way you want him, unashamed and sacrificial. He tells you that no man can live up to the one who lives in your head and you tried to change didn’t you? Closed your mouth more, tried to be softer, prettier, less volatile, less awake. But even when sleeping you could feel him travelling away from you in his dreams. So what did you want to do love, split his head open? You can’t make homes out of human beings. Someone should have already told you that. And if he wants to leave then let him leave. You are terrifying and strange and beautiful. Something not everyone knows how to love.” TC mark


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Jamie Varon

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Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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