Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a hot emotional mess. I cry. A lot. This little body of mine is packed with a ridiculous amount of emotion and my emotions spill out in the form of tears.

However, there’s another side to me that I keep pretty well hidden from the world. My husband calls it my “shut-down-brave-face” side. That’s where I get to the point that I’m either so completely over something or so hurt by something that I shut down about the subject and I shut people out because I need to work things through in my own brain. This side isn’t my friend. When something in my life gets to the shut-down-brave-face point, I either go into a dark place, or I become filled with Hulk-like anger. There is no middle, just extreme on either side and it's an awful place to be.

I was recently struggling with something that was causing me an intense amount of inner turmoil and I didn't hit the complete shutdown part, but I definitely started to slip into a place that I had no business being in. Only a small handful of people knew what was going on because I put my brave face on for the world, but some of my closest girlfriends saw through the charade and you know what they did? They came at me like a flock of mama birds rushing to a nest with their wings outstretched to protect their young from a predator. These amazing women shielded me. They enveloped me with love and handled me with kid gloves until the time was right to kick me in the behind and tell me to square my shoulders, let go, and fly.

One day when I’d hit a particularly low point, one of my friends pulled a crown out of her bag and told me to put it on my head. I thought she was joking but the look in her eyes told me she wasn’t and although I thought it was completely ridiculous for a grown woman to be walking around with a crown in her bag, I did what she said. My friend looked me in the eyes and told me to remember that I am a child of the King. She told me that I needed to stop carrying all of the hurt on my own shoulders and that I needed to hand some of it over to my friends so that they could carry some of the weight for me. Within minutes of putting that silly crown on my head, I found myself laughing and waving like royalty.

Today is International Women's Day, a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. But today, I also celebrate my girls who are doing the parenting thing alone. The girls who are getting their hands dirty and picking up the slack. The girls who are working multiple jobs to provide for their family. The girls who are taking care of sick loved ones. The girls who are working up the courage to leave abusive situations. The girls who are fighting back against diseases and demons that are trying to take their lives. The girls who have found the strength to speak up and let the truth be heard.

Today, I also celebrate the girls, young and old, who haven't found their footing yet. The girls whose crowns are a little tilted. You, my precious need to know that all of us have times when our crowns are a little off center. It’s perfectly okay to have a tiny pity party, but you can’t stay there. You have to go home. And, your home should be filled with women who aren’t afraid to share their crown when yours is broken. Find those women and when you do, hold on to them with every ounce of strength that you have.

Every woman should aspire to be a crown straightener and to do so with grace, compassion, and a joyful heart.

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