La Fuerza

I come from a long line of strong women.

We are proud and stubborn, hard-working and family-first, sentimental and defensive. We are a puzzle.

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I asked my husband once, Am I tough?

He quickly responded, No. Arguing pursued, as my feelings were evidently hurt.

Weakness was not an acceptable trait growing up. We women were taught to have hard exteriors, to guard our emotions, and fire our fierce tempers when necessary. The rule of thumb: Conceal all signs of weakness.

We’ve crossed oceans and raised children alone in foreign lands. We’ve sought after positions once available only to men. We’ve built businesses. We’ve battled our husbands’ infidelities. And fought disorders that devoured our spirits.

I provided countless life examples to prove his statement wrong.

You’re strong, but not tough, he reiterated.
What’s the difference? I asked.
His response: You let people get to you.

I escaped to our bedroom to ponder the distinction. We women are not tough. We accept others’ criticism and actions to heart. We suffer the pain of their wounds. We pick ourselves apart, examine the pieces, analyze the possibilities, and reassemble.  After endless scrabbling, we persevere.

There is nothing wrong with having moments of weakness. As long as we awaken–new, vibrant and ambitious. We are strong.

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