Friday, May 17, 2013
Exploring Inner Strength
I've been blind to both my strengths and my weaknesses. I've allowed others to commandeer my strength and take advantage of my weaknesses. I've willingly given up my strength because I thought it better for others. I've hidden my strength in the depths of my mind and the recesses of my heart.
I've been conquered and I've conquered. I've been victim and victor. I've been weak and strong.
As I read my poems, I often discover things I've forgotten or denied about myself.
It wasn't until I decided to embrace my own strength and stop looking for strength from outside sources that I discovered true strength.
I don't need to be saved from myself. I don't need to be saved at all. I am enough as I am. I am not perfect, but perfection is overrated anyway. I'd rather be scarred and bruised than weak.
I've learned there's more strength in vulnerability than there is in a facade of toughness.
As I explore my journey to find and secure my inner strength, I'm reminded how many people, especially women, follow a similar journey. As women we're often taught that our strength needs to be tempered in order to not offend the men in our lives. In tempering our strength, we learn to accept behavior and attitudes from others that is less than we deserve. We are taught to not voice our opinions, needs, desires, thoughts with authority in order to make the men in our lives feel better about themselves. We're taught to bolster the egos of others even if they beat us into the ground. We're taught that we're responsible when others mistreat us. We're taught it's better to be weak than to offend someone else.
If we're lucky there comes a times in life when we learn those teachings are wrong, and we refuse to be less than we are for anyone or any reason.
When we embrace our inner strength, we learn to be responsible for our own behavior and hold others accountable for theirs without sacrificing ourselves. In the process, we learn that to survive is not enough, and we seek to thrive.
Amazing how the words we write reveal us to ourselves...
My forthcoming collection of poetry, Strength in Silhouette explores my journey away from and back to my inner strength.
T. L. Cooper grew up on a farm in Tollesboro, Kentucky. She earned a Bachelor of Science from Eastern Kentucky University. Her poems, short stories, articles, and essays have appeared online, in books, and in magazines. Her published work includes a novel, All She Ever Wanted, five books of poetry, and a book of short stories. When not writing, she enjoys yoga, golf, creating plant-based recipes, and traveling. Currently, she resides in Albany, Oregon.