Being strong is not always what you think

This past weekend I had a long discussion with my son Kyle. A discussion that quite literally lasted two days. He told me that sometimes he wished he had my strength, that I am Superwoman in his eyes. He wanted some of my backbone....etc..

"You can handle anything life throws at you, mom," he said.

Here's the truth many people seen as strong don't always speak about. We're scared as hell. The outside world may see us as a tower of strength, but inside we're just as fragile, just as vulnerable,  as anyone else who walks this Earth.

We have feelings.
We cry. 
We have self-doubt.
We're fearful of failure. 
We sometimes get angry that we need to be strong all the time.
We are often tired and need a break more than anyone will ever know. 

When you're a woman seen as a strong or confident personality there is extra added pressure on you - plus, then there are the labels that get assigned to you - bitch is at the top of the list. You're often the target for gossip and rumors. You will have haters. That is a given.

I get told all the time that I am a rock. I try to explain that really I am just a pile of pebbles contained within a hard shell. Those pebbles are my life experiences, the lessons I have lived through and learned from.  They've gathered together to help hold me up when I think I am about to fall.

I've been that meek girl. So damn shy I'd rather stay home than go out in public in fear that someone would talk to me, say something about me. I didn't want to attend my bridal shower nor my first baby shower. I didn't want to be the center of attention.  I once lived in a state of constant self-hate. When I looked in the mirror I saw everything wrong about me and nothing right. I was repulsed by my own reflection.

It has taken me a long time to get to where I am today. Many years of self-reflection. Many years of working through those horrid memories and accepting my life, all those things I lived through - knowing that once I was a victim, many times over. It is humbling to realize that during those years I set myself up for more victimization. I had to take ownership for my life - everything that happened, even the mistakes I made before I started to realize my worth.

So, really, is it strength or is it I know I deserve to go after living rather than surviving?

The conversation with my son was deep - we dug into quite a bit.

It was a hard conversation to have, especially since right now I am in a transitional period of my life. A time in which I am feeling quite vulnerable, far from strong. I walked away from a job that was sucking the life out of me, quite literally. I could feel it all taking a toll on my health. I was extremely unhappy, working long hours for less pay than people realize. When I walked away it was quite public because when I did, the paper closed their doors. Yes, it was epic.

I walked away and jumped into a rather shaky safety net, one woven together with hopes and dreams. I am sure many would say I was stupid for taking that leap, they could be right.  Time will tell.

Hearing him say he wished he had my backbone and strength was hard to take in - especially since some of those old self-doubts have been fighting to move back in - yes, there's been a battle.

What he doesn't realize is right now I am doing the exact same thing he is - shooting for some dreams. Going after what I feel I was destined to do, finishing up that When I Became Free project. Wondering if people will actually want to hear my story, will anyone come to my speaking engagements? Will they think I am full of myself? Am I going to be able to pay my bills or will I end up in my car? an old fool?

If anything, he was my example of strength to follow when at 18 he packed up that crappy van he had with hardly any money in his pockets and moved to Memphis with his friend and brother in tow. All of them young, broke, and living for their dreams. His dream is a career in music. His accomplishments since that move have been remarkable and what is on the horizon for him, will be breathtaking. It is obvious to all who have been watching him grow.

So, he sees me as strong but I see me as following in his footsteps, I just don't know if I have his talent and strength to see it through.

Being strong is not always what you think.....

Thank you goes out to my friend Bunny who recorded my Baby Boy performing this old gospel song last weekend when he came home to perform at a benefit. Everything Happens for a Reason! ;)


Popular Posts