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Joy

Female Ukrainian soldier goes viral for her unbridled optimism in a dark time

female ukrainian soldier, war, ukraine

"The sun is shining, the birds are singing".

Even in the midst of great tragedy, a female Ukrainian soldier chooses to see hope. In a short, 13 second clip, she offers a sweet smile. Her eyes peer up to a clear blue sky. She says with a voice full of warmth:

"I'm still alive, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, everything will be fine. Long live Ukraine..."


Though the soldier hasn’t been identified, her unbreakable positive outlook has taken on iconic status, comforting thousands who look at Ukraine’s plight and feel devastated. She’s already committing a heroic act by defending her country, but this adds another layer of gentle bravery.

She is not alone. Other female soldiers of Ukraine are fighting to stay hopeful in a way that might bring new meaning to the term “girl power.”


Their TikTok channels are filled with the same videos most young women their age post: glamorous makeup looks, joking around with friends, playful dancing. The key difference is … they happen to be donning military attire while doing it.

female ukraine soldiers

Screenshot taken from @vika_222 on TikTok.

TikTok


They show off their manicured hands while holding bullets, and clean their weapons to the sounds of upbeat hip-hop music. The barracks have become the backdrop to their lives, but other than that … life goes on just the same.

It feels like a small, yet powerful act of defiance. As if to say, “this war doesn’t take away who I really am. You cannot have that.” So simple, and yet a victory nonetheless.

As the threat of a possible Russian invasion became more imminent, Ukrainian women between the ages of 18 and 60 who were considered “fit for military service” were required to register for armed forces. And the list of professions considered fit is quite extensive. According to The Wall Street Journal, around 32,000 women were serving in Ukraine’s military as of Feb 17, with many set to take on a variety of combat roles.

female ukraine soldiers tiktok

TikTok

Then, as we all know, the nightmare came true. These women and young girls were plucked from their lives in a time of need to be thrust into war. And yet, their spirits remain untarnished. That is a soft kind of power that shoots straight to the heart. And it’s inspiring.

As it gets more and more difficult to peel our gaze away from the pain, perhaps the most radical form of resilience is holding onto our enthusiasm for life. That is something each and every one of us can do, even though it isn’t always the easiest thing to accomplish.

ukraine

TikTok

Our bleakest moments still contain vast possibilities for a brighter future. Even in times of war, birds still sing. The sun still shines. And where we choose to place our focus matters. We can each fight for hope in our own unique way. But it’s always worth fighting for.

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


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