For the ‘Strong Woman’

Wednesday, August 15, 2018


2016 - 2017 was a particularly rough period for me. There were extreme highs and lows.

When it was good, it was really good. When it was bad... it was BAD.

I experienced disappointments that I did not see coming; life curve-balled me.

With the disappointments came trepidation, and I often found myself calming myself down in an empty room, amidst scalding tears.

(Yes. I cry.)

I also prepared to move across continents (in a series of serendipitous events). But I think I underestimated the effects of the move, and the accompanying changes I had to acclimatize to.

The whole time, I just pushed through the pain and the stress, while focusing on my given goal at any stage. But sometimes, I would break down... then pick myself right up, and continue pushing.

I remember sitting at a table in a garden-joint, eating baked fish after work one day with my friends, and whining about how unfair life was. The heavenly flavour of the fish in my mouth probably watered the seriousness of my unhappiness, as I shared some of what I was going through.

They laughed at my 'exaggeration' of the circumstances, and waived it aside. "You're a strong woman", said one. "You have a solution to every problem”, another. Nothing gets to you"  the third one.

It would have been funny, if it was not so not-funny; the disbelief that I could have down days too. Certainly, I am no Cersei of the House Lannister.

(Rolls eyes)

Strong Woman. (scoffs)

That's the term we casually ascribe to women who do not easily come across as (what's the word?) 'soft'. Women not easily given to doubling up in tears upon losing a coveted position, or failing a test.

Truth is the concept of a "Strong Woman" is somewhat of a misconception in itself. Because while the woman may not be prone to falling apart before the world's eyes (as is naturally and prejudicially expected of the 'weaker' gender) it does not mean she does not fall apart. 

Everyone falls apart, at one point or the other.

Like other humans (inclusive of males), who are prone to being overwhelmed every now and then, she simply falls apart in the sanctity of her privacy, and draws inner strength from herself.

Being considered a "strong woman" places the obligation of wearing the vestige of impenetrable stoicness, sometimes making the wearer come across as cold.

Like Margaret Thatcher of old. (My dear, dear namesake!)

But while being referred to as a "Strong woman" may be isolating in its weird way - carrying a lot of 'responsibility' and almost culminating into a burden of feigned super-power - there is equally some comfort to be drawn from it.

The knowledge that even in the deepest and darkest moments, you are a symbol of strength to others around is enough reminder to reach in, to consciously latch unto that strength, and rise to the occasion.

It is ok to cave in, to fall apart or cry every once in a while. Then pick yourself up, keep pushing through the challenges of life, and conquering obstacles.

If it is any consolation, it is that you have provided strength enough to others, to be regarded as ‘strong’.

Rise to the occasion. Own your strength,

Strong Woman.

Paz,

Meg.







Photo-Credits: Gina Torres as "Jessica Pearson" in Suits (taken from www.variety.com)

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