Tuesday, September 09, 2014

On Strength

We have all heard that old adage, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."  And I am sure that many have either agreed wholeheartedly or disagreed so vehemently that punching the person delivering the nugget was the only appropriate response.

I am not in the mood to punch.

Actually, I disavow violence for the most part.

But, I disagree with the adage.

That is not to say that I don't believe in it as I am wont to do with many ideas, concepts and items (often to the chagrin of very concrete people who tell me, what do you mean you don't believe in umbrellas?  They are right here, umbrellas!)

I am sure that there are people for whom this adage is true, or that they believe it to be true.

As I have been considering the notions of strength, weakness and vulnerability (again), the "truth" of this statement for me has evolved.

What doesn't kills us certainly touches us, shapes us, moves us off course or onto another course.  It has an impact.

However for me, the outcome doesn't feel like "stronger."

It feels like that tenderness of a bruise.  It isn't the sting of the original injury.  It is more of a reminder of the hurting. 

You know that you have been through this rough road and it caused you pain.

This sense memory could be construed as a lesson, but I am not sure that what it teaches you is to be stronger.

I worry that my take away is to be wary.

My learning around this is acknowledging that hard times come and then they go.  It doesn't mean that I am stronger afterwards.  It also does not mean that I am broken by the troubles.

It is just that there are challenging situations, and I exist through them.  

I guess learning to expect that there will be pain could be understood as strength of a sort.  But what I feel more strongly is the normalization of the existence of those hard times -- they will come and they will go and I will not control them: I do not cause them to come or go.  And I am still right here whether they are.

This is getting more convoluted instead of more clear, so I will stop.  But these are the thoughts that occupy my time while I should be writing.

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