Written by Ariella Laya
Be strong. Stay strong. Words of comfort in times of need, turmoil, despair and sadness encompass strength. People often refer to it as if it appears in your darkest of hours, does what it is supposed to do and then sits patiently waiting to be called again as you deem fit. According to society, you do not need to walk around strong. In fact, as a woman, you shouldn’t. You do not need to broadcast or showcase such strength. You do not need to be tough or resilient. It is better if you are not intense. A lady is soft, approachable, all rough edges smoothed away, absent from the naked eye.
In my experience, strength is not on reserve, nor is it for only hard times. You use your strength every single day, all day. You did not necessarily choose to be strong and you often wish you did not have to be. It is tiring to be strong, weary to be brave, exhausting to wear all the armor of personal protection each day. You have to be tough, as there is no other choice. It is an attribute that you have come to possess over time and due to many dreadful experiences. You use might for survival and you will not apologize for being a brave, strong woman. Not only did others make you this way, but also you see now that you are grateful they did. The intensity you have is what makes you passionate and capable.
Many people, both men and women, do not find power attractive in a woman. Intensity scares the weak away. They tell you to lighten up, to smile more, and to have fun. They tell you not to worry, not to be so hard, not to act so tough. Yet they know nothing about what you have been through, or what you need. They have no grasp that those before them, others who said these same things, left you down and out, alone and adrift, in broken shambles to pick yourself back up and become whole again.
So many hurt you because they did not know how to handle you. They did not see your big, pure, selfless heart. They were instead, distracted by your fast-talking, witty and sarcastically vulgar mouth. It never occurred to them that your intentions may be pure even if you curse, that your words might be crass, but your soul still genuine. Your rough edges make you seem cold, even difficult. The truth is, they did not care to see. They let an incorrect impression of you remain their truth, because it is easier to walk away then to deal with something blunt, even if it is beautiful.
The great Bob Marley may have said it best, “If she is easy, she will not be worth it and if she is worth it, she will not be easy.” You are not an easy person to love, but you are well worth it. Once they can get past the battered exterior and the layers of wall, they will see you have so much love to give, loyalty to carry and greatness to share.
You do not say all of this with bitterness, or in a jaded haze, but merely as fact. When one has been mistreated, undervalued, overlooked and taken for granted enough times, they have two choices. Rise up or fall down. You choose to rise. You choose to rise for yourself, for your child, for your family. In order to dust yourself off each and every time, you had to become durable. With each heartbreak, wise crack, disrespect or act of betrayal, a piece of you hardened into defense and now you are strong, equipped with a shield of suspicion and a sword of knowledge. The pain in you runs the smart mouth and tough façade but that swollen, scarred, indestructible heart will never quit. Through all the trials and tribulations, you still believe in love, in the power of forgiveness, in the quest for happiness.
It turns out; you can make it on your own. You can be single, you can run a household, you can keep a job, you can raise a child, and you can even live some of your dreams, without the aid of a man, a best friend or a confidant. This scares the weak for they must feel needed. This intimidates those filled with self-doubt, as they need reassurance. This bothers the macho man as they become confused about their role. It is not seen as sexy or proper to be self-sufficient. Guess what? Too bad.
You will not apologize for making gold out of coal, growing a garden out of nothing. You will not dumb yourself down or make yourself fragile to appease anyone. You will not erase your past, bury it, be ashamed of it, for it has shaped you into whom you are. You are a bad ass. You are a woman in every sense of the word and you have earned the love and respect of equally strong, empathetic, passionate and loyal people. When the time is right, not only will those people be there, ready as partners in crime, ready to receive all you have stored to give, ready to accept you flaws and all, but the world will open its ignorant eyes, ready to let your light shine, and by seeing your truths, giving you all you need to fully heal and fully live. Until then, keep going, be strong, be all that is you.
Photo from here
By Ariella Laya
With a passion for writing since the beginning of time, she free-lances for various publications. Between ariella’s obsession with travel, love for fashion and need for music and modeling, she keeps busy. From a teenager mother to a lawyer turned nurse, ariella loves to connect with others and share experiences without judgement. Please feel free to reach out, and follow on Facebook for all articles! xoxo