“When it rains, it….”
Go ahead and finish that statement. We all know it.
“When it rains, it pours..”
Ain’t that the truth. I’m at a time in my life where it’s pouring down on me and everyone around me keeps saying “YOU’RE SO STRONG” and I fucking hate it. I despise that assumption and I have always hated it. For years now, people regard me as strong and strangely, stronger than most. I don’t know what I have ever done to earn this inaccurate title but it makes me cringe.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.
Barf. I hate that quote. People said that to me 11 years ago when I lost my best friend in a plane crash.
Believe it or not, just 4 short months ago, I lost my dad the same way too. A plane crash. I guess lightening does indeed strike twice. Some people had the balls to say that same damn quote again:
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”
Fuck, just call me the tin man.
I ask myself, why does this stuff make me so annoyed? It literally makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up at attention.
I think its because I don’t FEEL strong and when people assert that I am, it is invalidating. It’s like they are saying, ya that hurts, but it can’t possibly affect you the way it affects ME because I’m not as strong as you.
That is so terribly dismissive, by the way. Like, “wipe your tears away strong girl, this is nothing” and there is an expectation there. Maybe they need to see me handle it better so it gives them hope that the reason that they feel so bad is because they weren’t blessed with the same wonder woman strength that I was. So when they handle what life throws at them poorly, they can say “Well, it’s because I’m not strong like THAT”. I suppose I am just a frame of reference for them.
They need me to be strong so they can feel safe and that’s a lot to carry. That is a burden that I do not choose to have on my shoulders.
Strong is a feeling. I see it in the gym all the time. I will show my clients an exercise and instruct them to grab a weight that works for them. If I have women in my group, almost always, one will comment to the other “Oh my gosh, your so strong!”. It’s usually when one lady has a set of 10lb weights and the other has a set of 15 lbs.
She’s right, from where she stands, with those 10 pounders in her hand, the other gal appears strong because she can handle more weight. Whereas I’m thinking to myself, geez, I expect more from both of these women. Those weights need to be at least 25 lbs dumbbells to be considered in the realm of strong because thats what I use. Yet, the guy next to me is laughing under his breath because he has a set of 45 lbs. It’s all relative.
Strength is something we all want and tend to compare our perceived strength, or lack thereof, to others around us. But it’s not strength. I actually think it’s a measure of what has been thrown at us, or in this case, how often we workout. The more you workout, the more weight you use over time and the stronger you become.
So isn’t it that way in life too? Someone who appears strong is maybe just a victim of having dealt with a lot of rough shit in their life? That maybe life has carved them out and they have seen dark days. They aren’t really stronger but maybe just more comfortable with pain? Maybe their edges have just been worn down by grief, trials and tribulations. Perhaps, instead of asserting that they should conjure up that inner strength, we should just pull them in and give them a hug and say “I see you”.
It dawned on me today, literally as I opened my eyes, that I FEEL strong, right now in this moment. I had a revelation that strong is a feeling and it’s not a state of being. It’s not an inherited trait. You don’t exist as strong. It’s a feeling that comes in and leaves again just like the tides.
Strength is a limited resource, the feeling of being strong isn’t always there when you need it and it can change from situation to situation. It’s a facade of smoke and mirrors and a measure of how you view yourself in relation to those around you. If you were the only human being on earth, would you even have a frame off reference to judge your strength, both physical and emotional? If fighters had nobody to step in the ring with, would they be strong?
So, next time that little voice in your head says “I am not strong enough” I challenge you to throw that narrative out. You’re just whoever you are, right then in that moment. You’re not strong or weak. Just a mixture of thoughts and feelings which makes up your unique experience. You don’t need to be anything other than what you are.
Today I feel inspired and motivated. I feel like I am ready to take on the day. Strong? Nah. But I feel good today. I feel bold. I might not tomorrow, and thats ok.
Because when it rains…. strong girls just get wet.
In good health,
Kimberly Elliott, The weakest strong girl that you will ever meet.