Our society has created a very real stereotype of a strong man, but what convictions does society hold towards women? What does a woman have to do to make people think ‘wow, how does she do it?’ Does she have to have children? All boys? All girls? A single mother perhaps? A mother of a child or children with a disability? Maybe no children? Does she stand behind a strong man of business? Or does she stand beside him? In front of him? Is she a politician? Or a philanthropist? What about the women who are abused and lack civil rights? Where do they lie on the scale of strength? The bottom line is strength and tenacity within a woman lies in the eyes of the beholder. It’s a culturally and hierarchical bound definition that we can question, degrade, and enthuse about for hours.
In respect to myself, I’ve been wrestling with my level of strength in this society for a few months. I’m almost done with my undergraduate degree in psychology, I want to peruse a masters, and soon after a doctorate degree. Will that fill the void I feel? I feel very young and weak under not only the pressures of society but also my boyfriend, my best friend. I come from a supportive blue collar family. I didn’t have much growing up, but I didn’t lack much either. We bound together when times were simple, and when times were hard. To say the least they taught me how to trust easily and forgive even easier. I brought those fundamentals into my relationship, and the things I use to hold onto for strength have beaten me to the ground. We live in the Caribbean, and for sake of a long story I’ll just say we moved here for his work. I decided to go with him because of a new opportunity, and I knew I was in love. The love I give doesn’t feel equal to the love I receive. Does that make me weak? Does it make me weak that I swallow his hurtful names like ‘retard’ and ‘psycho?’ Does it make me weak that I swallow those words as I’m swallowing his semen from a nightly blow job I’m practically required at this point to give? Does it make me weak that I almost want to give him anything he wants because the biggest fear I hold is for the one I love to leave me? Does it make me weak or fatigued if I look to the liberation of the Internet for comfort? Lets go back to my fundamentals, trust easily and forgive even easier. Now does it make me weak, or does it make me strong? I forgive him for every nasty comment he makes. Every single night, I play back my day and mentally forgive him for his hurtful antics and write them off as symptoms of living on this god awful island. Does forgiveness make you weak? I sure as hell feel weak, but my whole premise growing up was to forgive and love unconditionally. Maybe there is a limit as to how much one can forgive, but then again when it comes to love there shouldn’t be any limits.
I could leave. I could stow away money and leave this island that I hate so much. I don’t even have to give him a reason, I could just leave him here alone. I could give it some sort of poetic justice and leave a note with only one or two words. I could stand up for myself and get out of this relationship, but that would be giving up. I don’t want to give up on him. To give up or not to give up? What will make you stronger? I feel like I have something to prove to him. I feel like I have to prove I’m worthy of his relations and love. Then again, is this who I am? I was always the person that use to live the day for myself, and didn’t let people drag me down. Now that love is in the mix I loose hold of those convictions and hold onto my childhood fundamentals a little tighter. Does that make me weak? Does the surrender to love let you loose the strength you behold?
Strength is in the eyes of the beholder. I can tell you one thing, I do not feel strong, I do not feel like the woman I can be, and I will not let anything stunt my growth and proliferation into the woman I want to be. The future is your greatest tool in assisting you reach that point of courage and durability you long for. It can always look brighter, you can always be better, and you shouldn’t stop until that ambition has been satisfied.