What Is Strength?

Strength In You

It is saying no but wanting heaven and earth to move out of your way so you can say yes.

It is saying yes knowing the consequences of your decision and accepting the responsibility for both, the answer and the aftermath.

It is bending your will for the sake of another knowing your words cannot convince them of their folly, but vowing to help pick up the pieces.

Standing with you back up against the brick and the hard place knowing the path you are about to walk will yield immediate heartache. In your heart, you will cherish the moments preceding your decision to leave, until you draw your last breath.

Watching your child take her first step, not wanting to, but allowing her to tumble, and then standing out of reach as she wails and waits for you to come, but knowing you cannot.  How to get up and try again, and again, is one lesson a parent cannot gift a child. It is self-taught and often fraught with tears of frustration.

Letting go of a piece of yourself –a chance, a person, a dream—knowing in the moment of release your heart will stutter and later howl,  but in the loss you’ll hear the sizzle of the setting sun burning into the horizon and see the ascent of a new moon.

It is taking a risk when the odds of success are stacked in favor of  karma, because the voice of your sixth sense is singing in your right ear, ‘we are the champions’… and sounding a lot like Freddie Mercury.

It is running at the speed of light—or as fast as your feet can propel you forward— then jumping with reckless abandonment into a mosh pit of possibility or chaos, just because you know there is something at the bottom meant for you to uncover.

It is giving love today, tomorrow, next month, in the moment, as the sun climbs, when the moon sets, as you watch the door shut, after harsh words, when words are not enough, after or before goodbye, between tears, the last kiss, at the wrong time, or  just because. But especially when it’s a foregone conclusion that regardless of the quantity, how perfect it seems, how much it means or how perfectly love feels snug on your skin, your heart will break, you’ll still give freely of yourself.

It is standing tall when all you have worked for or believed in is shattered when life is dealing from the bottom of the deck or because of lies another has fed to you.   And later, when the tears on your pillow are dried, you’ll draw from a strength you never knew you had and begin anew even though hope flickers with the evening breeze.

It is refusing a compliment or the key to the castle when it comes with a price tag, even if you can make the monthly payments.

It is accepting praise from a foe with humility and the grace of a seasoned diplomat,  and waiting until you are behind closed doors for a victory dance.

It is swallowing your pride or falling on a sword for another or a cause not your own but recognizing the value of your sacrifice will lift the spirit for one or many.

It is giving of yourself when there is nothing left to give because you know it’s in the job description of being a mom, a wife, a friend, a woman.

It is looking into the mirror naked—as scary as it is—and loving every line, curve, imperfection, with gratitude.

It is speaking without filters, without an agenda, without expectations, honestly and from your heart.

It is being who you are in mirror by wearing your inside self on the outside.

It is being true to who you always wanted to be, have always been inside, and knowing being unique is sometime a lonely business, but throwing caution to the wind and not giving a damn.

 

What is your definition of strength?

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I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

52 thoughts on “What Is Strength?

    • Jennifer – I loved your post today. I am honored and flattered, but mostly, I am excited for your words and the road you are traveling. It’s such a rush to write from our hearts and share our highs and lows. So glad to have met. I am not sure how I found you, maybe Michael Ann – ??

  1. Great post, Brenda! Strength can come in so many different ways, but this one is my favorite: “It is giving of yourself when there is nothing left to give because you know it’s in the job description of being a mom, a wife, a friend, a woman.” Can I add writer to that list though? I’ve been having to find strength in making edits–strength to find better ways to write, strength to give up sleep to make deadlines, strength to prove I can do this.

    • Kelly, I cannot believe I left off being a writer. Of course, I was writing from that inside, vulnerable part of me, looking for moments where I was strongest. I skipped over the trials and tribulations of being a writer. In hindsight, I think this is because I look at the two differently. I suppose the write stems from that writer in me preparing for the next steps for me and Stella.

  2. Brenda this an absolutely wonderful piece. I got choked up along the way…I really connected. I love the way it started…so engaging. I’ve had that experience many times, as well as many of the others you’ve written about here. I’m sure, as writers, most of us can relate. It takes a lot of strength to keep writing in the face of all kinds of adversity, large and small.

    • Nancy, of course, it wasn’t my intention to evoke ‘choking’ but on the other hand I do confess I had to dig inside of my own colorful past to extract those memories. I love this about life, having a few dozen crates of memories to rifle through. As you and I are about to step forward on our own version of the yellow brick road, remembering how we got this far is a good thing. Many thanks for sharing and the words.

  3. June O'Hara

    It is being true to who you always wanted to be, have always been inside, and knowing being unique is sometime a lonely business, but throwing caution to the wind and not giving a damn.

    That is the perfect description of what it takes to be a writer. Sometimes I look around and once again realize that I’m living a different kind of life than most. From the outside, it looks nuts. But it’s who I am, and nothing can change it. Sometimes just acknowledging that gives me the strength to keep going in the face of the long, upward climb in front of me. Which sometimes feels like climbing Everest without equipment. Or oxygen. Or Chap Stick, damnit.

    You’re an amazing writer, Brenda.

  4. Love this one…
    “Letting go of a piece of yourself –a chance, a person, a dream—knowing in the moment of release your heart will stutter and later howl, but in the loss you’ll hear the sizzle of the setting sun burning into the horizon and see the ascent of a new moon.” It is like letting go, knowing there is something better on the horizon and when we hold on, we never get to see it. the strength is in blind trust, jumping off, knowing you’ll land. Beautiful piece today!

  5. Lynne Favreau

    What astute observations, Brenda. I admire your ability to succinctly convey complex emotions in your nearly poetic posts. I always find something of myself in your words.
    “It is speaking without filters, without an agenda, without expectations, honestly and from your heart.”
    I aim for that, but the “without filters” part can get a little rough.
    A pleasure to read as always.

  6. ****It is being true to who you always wanted to be, have always been inside, and knowing being unique is sometime a lonely business, but throwing caution to the wind and not giving a damn.****

    I am standing up right now Applauding you, Brenda.

    Can you hear the clapping from Minnesota?

    Xxx kiss

    • Kim – I did, I did.. and my heart soared. It’s funny how I wrote about strength and today, I actually had to draw upon my own. Life is funny in a twisted sort of way.

  7. I found great comfort and inspiration here today Brenda… enough to pass on to others! Thank you.
    “it is self taught and often fraught with tears of frustration” – loved this one.
    Where do I find strength? Well, sometimes in it’s in that bottle of Chardonnay, you know. I’m not entirely sure I agree but family and friends would suggest I find my strength from sheer willpower and determination (even if I don’t always get it right!). Thanks for a great post!

    • Asta, I am glad for this especially since I has to focus on finishing this particular post. My mind was wondering up and down the avenue. My writer self is known for its flights of fancy, and try as I might last night, I as not at the wheels of control. I too, and am now, having a glass of lovely Central California Chardonnay. I don’t think there is always a ‘right’, sometimes it’s just getting to the other side where we are the most beautiful.

  8. Strength is facing death and encouraging your family to talk about it when all of you would prefer treating it as the elephant in the room. I recently witnessed this as my sister was living her last few weeks with cancer. When I see the word “strength” now, that’s what I think of.

    • Glenda – It is indeed. My heart goes out to you. I too lived through this when I dad lost his fight. It takes everything and then some talk. Best to you and your family.

  9. Strength, to me, is allowing yourself the ability to trust that your beliefs and actions are worth fighting for and being able to accept the fact that not all of your dreams are going to come true. When we realize how much potential we have, and that failing is just a part of life, we no longer need to question whether or not we possess strength. The hard part is getting to that point…but I’m working on it. 😛 As always, such a great post Brenda. So glad I found you.

    • Nate – I know the hardest lesson I had to swallow is the one you mention. Not all of our dreams come true. I quite disliked this lesson. Actually, I loathed it with a passion equal to love. Later, as in million of seconds, I realized we don’t always get want we want, sometimes we truly get what we need (Rolling Stones) and more often than not, what we need is much better than what we thought we wanted. Is it perfect, not always. I am still floored by life. I don’t know if we ever willingly accept our dreams deflating. I suspect that is why some of us keep fighting. I am glad we have meant. I don’t know how this is, but I am not going to question it, rather enjoy it.

  10. I was listening to your song of the week (I love singing to the first three songs of that particular Dixie Chicks album) as I read this week’s post, Brenda. The last: ‘It is being true to who you always wanted to be, have always been inside, and knowing being unique is sometime a lonely business, but throwing caution to the wind and not giving a damn’ … speaks out to me the loudest.

    I think Strength is also about taking your path at your pace even when your friends & family have moved in the other direction. Taking the long way round and keeping your chin up, your heart resolute, your humour firm in insanity will take time to get accustomed to. Nobody will be able to start off that strong. But taking that first step takes Courage, and Strength will be built on it.

    Made me smile, this post. Made something within me glow. Thanks, Brenda.

    Love,
    C.

    • Claudine, I do love that particular CD, it is all about strength and standing tall. I saw them in concert after the CD came out – IT WAS THE BEST CONCERT EVER. They were fighting strong. I do return to that Cd whenever I feel my own knees knocking. I know you threw caution to the wind when you followed your dream to write books. You are ahead of me in this dream, but I see your spirit in your words. I am glad you enjoyed the song and the post – they are my theme for the week. Love back to you, my dear.

  11. k~

    Brenda, if there is anything you left out, I am unsure of what it might be. All there is left to say is you are a STRONG woman.

    k~

  12. Oh, yes, letting your babies grow up. I love letting them take risks and being there to support them through it. But, man o man, it is so incredibly hard. You are so right, that takes amazing strength. To let them fall. To let them take chances. To watch. But we are the o es who get the hugs afterward:).

  13. This is my favorite passage because, right now, it resonates with me:

    “It is standing tall when all you have worked for or believed in is shattered when life is dealing from the bottom of the deck or because of lies another has fed to you. And later, when the tears on your pillow are dried, you’ll draw from a strength you never knew you had and begin anew even though hope flickers with the evening breeze.”

    Not so much lies, but deception. Someone I’ve trusted and helped and encouraged has now made me feel completely and utterly used. I’ve been kicking myself for all I did for this person, but just yesterday, on the advice of a fellow blogger, I’m letting it go and ready to begin anew. Thank you, Brenda, for your beautiful words which have helped solidify what I was feeling. You’re writing is so divine!

    • Ah, Monica, I am saddened to hear of your heartache. Your blogger friend advised wisely. Life is brutally short, no need to carry around the hurt, move forward because something wonderful will surprise you when least expected. Hugs to you..

  14. My definition of strength comes from acknowledging how weak I truly am first. From there I place everything I am into the hands of my Maker, asking Him to give me strength for any number of things. If I triumph it was due to Him and I acknowledge that. True strength comes out of humility.

  15. This was a wonderful piece to read. Yes, strength is getting up the next morning and try, try again. Might succeed, might fail…and if I do fail, I’ll get up the next mornin’ and try, try again.

    Good stuff, Brenda!

    • Linda, this is always the way. Keep moving (sometimes allowing for a little wallow, but then it’s back up for another spin on the red brick floor).

  16. As always, I am awed and the beauty and poetry in your prose.

    I would add to all the strengths you describe so lyrically, above, the ability to fail at any and all of the above. To fail miserably and with much humiliation, because you *knew* what you should have done, and still could not do it. And after that, to accept the failure and to say to yourself, “Next time, I will do better.”

    • Bev – excellent addition! After hitting publish I thought of several other moments when I was strong, but I am always long in the tooth with my posts. I do reserve the right to fail with grace, to even wallow, but to get back up and give ‘it’ another whirl. And many thanks for the words.

  17. “It is being true to who you always wanted to be, have always been inside, and knowing being unique is sometime a lonely business, but throwing caution to the wind and not giving a damn.”

    I would leave out, “who you always wanted to be.” I always wanted to be so many other people, never myself.

  18. Great post. There’s lot of truth in what you’ve written.

    Strength for me is what I hope I’ve developed over the last few difficult years – keeping going even when your energy reserves (emotional and physical) seem empty, standing up for what you believe in, being yourself, and letting things go (even though a little part of you goes with them).

    • Fi – I can so relate to your comments. I am a firm believer that life never gives yous more than you can handle. I like to think I am shinier after something major–even if I am not–I keep the faith. Thanks for stopping by.

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