Wednesday Weigh-in: When did you discover your strength?

I recently spent the weekend with some of the women of my extended family. Sitting around a table with them, I reflected on how strong they all were and how much they had endured as mothers, wives, daughters in their lives. Through all of it–divorces, deaths, estrangements, even exile–they had somehow found the strength to keep going, keep surviving.

At one point my Aunt turned to me and asked, When did you discover your strength?

We all have that moment in life when something happens to us and we think we won’t possibly be able to go on, to continue to survive it. And then, somehow we do, and we realize that we are strong, that we are survivors, that we can get past that which life brings our way.

So, dear readers, when did you discover your strength?

Join the Conversation

  • nazza

    After I tried to commit suicide when I was 17, nearly succeeded, spent two months in the hospital, and realized if all that couldn’t kill me, I must be stronger than I thought.

  • Rachel

    I think I’m discovering my strength right now. I was raped 3 years ago and as I start talking about it and writing about it I can feel myself grow stronger.

  • Meg

    When I was 18 I had a positive pregnancy test, chose an abortion, and have now spent the last 3 years at a conservative Catholic University. I keep realizing my strength when my school decides annually to let the anti-choice group on campus put 100 white crosses in the quad to symbolize their idea of the innocent deaths lost to abortion.

  • Karen

    When my husband’s grandma died while we were in the Peace Corps. I had no time to fall apart, I had to get things done and get us home for her funeral. I had to navigate crazy bureaucracy and a blizzard, but we made it. It wasn’t until after the funeral that I broke down and really reflected on the emotional toll it had all taken. I think back on that time and wonder where that strength came from.

  • Kate

    I recently found my strength when I decided to tackle my issues with alcohol and other personal demons. Everyday I find myself growing stronger and stronger, and loving myself more and more.

  • kristen

    What a great question. Though I have to admit I was a little afraid that “Weigh-in Wednesday” was going to be a post about exercise or weight loss. Obviously not!

    I think I discovered my strength when I traveled by myself to Guatemala. It was incredibly empowering to realize that I could take care of myself, entertain myself, and have adventures in another country without any help from anyone but myself. It was one of the most empowering experiences I’ve had.

  • Kathryn

    I started discovering my strength over the past 2 years. I moved away from my family to spend a year at an English university that my partner was attending. We hadn’t been together for over a year and I had no idea if it would work out between us or how I would adjust to the UK. When I was in high school I had a lot of anxiety issues over our long distance relationship and at points it got unbearable. During the visa process I remember saying things like, if I don’t get a visa and can’t come to study there, we’ll have to slit up. I just didn’t think I could handle it.
    Everything came through fine in the end but I spent the first half of the year very homesick and depressed. Eventually I shifted into my comfort zone with my partner and I decided to stay on and finish my degree here this year and move into a house with him and our friends. While I was home last summer applying for the extension of my visa so I could come back I realised that if it didn’t come through, I wasn’t going to give up. I have so much emotionally invested in our relationship and really see him as a partner. We will both graduate next month and I will have to come back to the US in the fall but I’m not looking at it as the end. I know I’m stronger than I was 5 years ago and I feel determined to keep together the partnership that has gotten me through so much in my growing up years.

  • Diana

    I realized my strength after leaving my partner of six years to be a single mom and started living my life instead of following my ex around and living his.

  • Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz

    Jeez, that’s hard. I find that there’s always something in life testing your strength, making you summon new strength, etc. I guess the earliest time I recall standing up for myself, without the help of an adult or anything, was when I was 6 and got skipped into the second grade. In the schoolyard a group of 7 year old second graders ganged up, telling me I was just a “1st grade baby” who “thought she was smarter than everybody else.” I remember standing my ground and telling those kids that I couldn’t help the way I was, they were all good at their own things and there was no real reason to be mean or not let me play. It actually DID work on that clique, though there were plenty of other kids I had to learn to physically defend myself with.