Someone telling me that I’m strong is not a compliment. And I know people mean well but strong is not a word to describe me. I’m not strong. I’m not a superhero. I don’t have super strength or anything like that. I am merely someone that is living life and overcoming various obstacles.
I am a single mom of two little boys and I’ve been homeless for the past year living in a hotel. People will say you’re so strong for going through this and that. I’m not strong. I’m merely doing what I have to do to survive. I am determined to provide the best life for my kids because they deserve that.
I think people tend to misuse the word strong when they want to let others know they inspire them or motivate them. If you look up the word strong, you would see two definitions. One is having the power to lift heavy weights or perform physically demanding tasks. The other is able to withstand great force or pressure.
There’s just this conatation with being strong that you don’t need anyone or that you don’t feel anything. But the truth is I feel weak a lot and I have days where I struggle to go on. And when you reach out or vent, people always tend to say ‘you’re strong enough to get through it.’ And it just feels like a slap in the face.
This strong bias is literally killing us.
As a Black woman, we are seen as so tough and strong and it’s honestly detrimental to us. It’s hard to have moments of weakness because it seems it will be used against you. Because people see us as strong and being able to withstand a lot, we don’t get the proper care we deserve. This strong bias is literally killing us. We’re afraid to go to therapists that won’t get the struggle and use our vulnerability against us. Black women are literally on the front lines fighting for equality for all but who has our back? I’ve seen multiple times Black women attacked for telling their truth. It’s like we’re supposed to just sit back and take everything because ‘we’re strong enough to handle it.’
Resilience is the ability to quickly recover from difficulties and strength is the ability to withstand a great force. Do you see what I’m getting at? Words hold a lot of meaning and the words you choose when someone is going through hell can make a big impact in a person’s life.
I always see this quote when people commit suicide and that’s ‘check on your strong friends’. I dislike that quote and I wish people would stop saying it. I feel like it’s so empty and a little patronizing as well. People post the quote and keep it moving without even checking on their friends. I wish people will stop seeing people as strong or saying someone is their strong friend. We all go through things in life and it’s not always easy to overcome certain obstacles. People shouldn’t feel they have to withstand great pressure alone because people consider them so strong.
Just because I’m handling setback after setback doesn’t mean I’m strong. Yes, I’m resilient and determined to make my life the best possible life ever but I’m not strong. I have periods of weakness, I cry and I feel broken at times. I am resilient, surviving and thriving.