Being Strong

Being Strong
Perhaps I have been told one too many times what a strong person I am---I'm tired of hearing it. I think too often we become strong because it is what's expected of us. Or because life dishes out challenges and rise to the occasion because the alternative is not acceptable to us. In the same way, we become confident because someone beside us is unsure. We become wise because someone around us needs wisdom. And piece by piece we become who others expect us to be.

I'm not regretful that I am strong, confident and wise. I just wish I had not had so many opportunities to display these qualities!

I awakened today pondering the fact that my Mother followed me to Georgetown, KY where I went to college. Then she followed me to Frankfort where I had my first job. Then she followed me to Lexington when I lived there. When I decided to stop taking care of her, she followed by younger sister to Texas, then her older sibling to Iowa, then back to her home in Indiana with her younger sibling and, finally, to Lexington again where three of her children lived. What was she looking for that she needed to move so frequently in search of? Perhaps, she was always looking for strength, confidence and wisdom and never found it in herself.

May she rest in peace.  

updated: 7 years ago


Being StrongMonday, December 14th 2009 5:46PM

Brenda, I'm not sure whether you are an oldest child or not--I do recall that your birth family was what social workers still often call dysfunctional.  Nonetheless, early on you got tagged with the "oldest and strongest" role, which eventually gets old.  In Black families, it is typically "Big Momma."  Well, remember that you always still are the one to whom people turn when they are in trouble.  Luckily, they also come to you when they are happy and rejoicing, so that tends to even out the rest.

I'm finally getting to a point where I do not feel that I need to interfere in others lives, even when I think that I know what they should be doing.  It may be passive/aggressive, but I listen and don't respond orally (or facially)--that seems to move people to go ahead and tell me more.  Eventually, I may well ask, "What do you think you should be doing about it?"  That point of clarification turns the questioning back to the other.  They may well become stronger, and I don't have to be strong for them.

I functioned like the oldest child because I was the oldest sister. It has taken me decades to learn to let go. I'm still learning!