How often are we told this as children? As teenagers? As Adults? For most of us the answer is quite a bit.
Most people who tell us to “be strong” seem to be coming from a place of support and compassion. What does it mean to “be strong”? In western society it usually means sucking up one’s emotions and continuing on. Don’t show how you feel, don’t let it out in public. Bottle it up. This is particularly true for boys and men. It is something that society told me repeatedly in many different ways as I grew up.
I have had a number of people tell me that I’m a strong person. Initially when I was told this, I wasn’t sure I believed it. Now, however I acknowledge the inner strength I never truly acknowledged before. Overall, I am a strong person, stronger now than I was three years ago before my transition began. Recognizing this strength I have also come to realize that transition has taken a lot more emotional strength and energy than I realized. I also realized that I was trying to “be strong” 100% of the time. This is not sustainable. Eventually something will have to give. I had to let myself have moments of “weakness”. To release the stresses, worries, anxiety and all the other myriad of emotions in a healthy way.
It’s okay not to be strong all the time. Really, it is.