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How Being Strong Can Become an Excuse to Ignore Your Needs

“What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”, but what about when I just want to be weak? What about the times when I just want to cry and let it be? This year we’ve all been put on trial in some way, forced to scavenge through the belly of the beast and interact with problem after problem, consuming us individually. I reached a breaking point, a realization, that sometimes I don’t have to be strong. As a black woman an and immigrant, strength is almost second nature, it courses in my veins and explodes with my existence. However, this idea that my identity must fuel my strength has led me down a rabbit hole of no return.

black woman with about half of her face showing Photo by Nappystock from Nappy.co Much like “Alice in Wonderland”, I find myself wondering about the foreignness of my strength, wanting to scream and react to the problems I face, but yet I force myself to remain composed and strong. I am not a psychologist or therapist in any way, but I know my experiences and this silence is not the way to go. By ignoring myself and concealing everything with this strength, I have missed out on opportunities to get upset and be frustrated. Most of the time these are negative sensations, but to me, they allow for growth and release. 

Strong, strong, strong. The toxic word that rings whenever someone compliments me. When I talk about my normal life, my trials, and triumphs. "Strong" is a good word, in fact, you can use it to define itself; "strong" is a strong word. Although, being strong is not always the best approach. Strength, much like anything, can become toxic and begin to erode your life. So, as you read this article, take the chance to step back and think of a time someone called you strong. Was it for a time you struggled or is it because you overcame adversity and succeeded? I am a firm believer that being called strong is good, in fact, thank you for the compliment, but I do not have to live up to it and neither do you.