What Does It Mean ‘To Be Strong’?

I recently bought two t-shirts from the lovely Gemma over at Mutha.Hood. I am in love with them and at the moment they hardly get washed and folded before I’m wearing them again.

Above: Exhibit A.

Below: The tees in question.

This past Saturday, Ash and I ventured into Birmingham City Centre to take a gander at the offerings at The Craft and Flea Market being held inside St. Martin’s church in the Bullring. (The jewellery and edibles available were particularly impressive. If you ever have the opportunity to purchase brownies or Nutella cookie sandwiches from Made With Fudge, 1000% do! No regrets! And I have confirmation that as the brownies are gluten friendly, they’re basically a health food, one of your five a day or something like that)

I wore my gorgeous white and red ‘Strong Girls Club’ tee, trusty mustard Primark cardigan and a red and black floral skirt of my own making. In the space of 3 hours, 4 separate people stopped me to talk about my tee.

Ashley, with his pearls of wisdom, turns to me as we’re walking through the Bullring, ‘but you’re not strong’. It’s no secret that you can beat me in an arm wrestling contest, dear. ‘Emotionally strong, babe.’ was my reply. ‘Erm, you’re not that either.’ He goes on to reference how I had to coax myself back from the verge of a panic attack the night before. ‘That’s different and you know it is.’ He knows when to pick his battles, he dropped it.

It left me bitter in my own head for a little while. Now, don’t get me wrong, Ash, in my opinion, doesn’t have the first clue on how to be in touch with his emotional health, but did he have a point? How can you be emotionally strong, yet shrink into unnecessary turmoil over trivial things? Or is that the point?

Now, I know that sounds absurd but hear me out. Maybe ‘being strong’ is allowing yourself to also not be. Maybe it’s letting yourself be vulnerable sometimes. Maybe it’s knowing when you’re safe and supported by the people you’re with and choosing not to hide behind your smile. Maybe it’s knowing that you’re not healed enough to share your story yet but also that you will get there and will support from the sidelines until you are.

I may not be physically strong or have my shit together 100% of the time, but I am strong. I am so so strong. And I will wear my Strong Girls Club tee with pride. Stand corrected, dear, your girlfriend is a strong ass woman.

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