A friend of mine, who just so happens to be a professional strongwoman (see this post I wrote a year and a half ago), asked a question via faebook that has been rattling around in my head for a few days.
She asked: "When did/do you feel the most strong?"
I've had friends and family describe me as strong-willed, courageous, and the type who accomplishes anything I set my mind to or have my heart in. I may have a lot of moments where I feel strength, but here's my secret:
I am strong because I have been broken. I have hope because I have been weak. And I have meaning in my life because I have been lost.
Throughout my life, I have struggled with confidence, my weight, and depression. I have had days when all I felt is emptiness. I have had days when all I felt is worthless. I have had days when all I felt is that I don't want to be here any more.
But those days are gone. Because I am strong.
I feel the strongest when I am at my lowest and I take a look at myself in the mirror and say, "enough is enough." When I go head to head with my biggest fears and insecurities and I win the fight. When I can stand up and say that I have conquered those obstacles, challenges, and internal voices telling me to give up.
When I want to quit. To run. To hide. When everything is telling me that I'm not strong enough. Not smart enough. Not tough enough. Not enough.
And I stand up and say "Today is the day when everything changes."
"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." - Nelson Mandela