Strength. It’s such a funny word. Usually when we hear the word strength, we immediately think of the physical aspect. However, I believe that inner strength is much more important and we manage to find that strength in the strangest of places.
Until my divorce at the young age of 22 (married at 18), I was the submissive woman that I was raised to be. The man ruled the roost and the only pot that the woman was to stir was that in the kitchen. Ok, it wasn’t quite that bad, but being raised in a very conservative and religious home, it often felt that way and that was the message that I heard time and time again from the pulpit at our church. Let me tell you that my mother certainly was not one to roll over and play dead. If by chance she had something to say to my father, she said it. However, I never saw her as a strong woman and to this day I still do not.
Facing divorce and raising a child on my own, I had finally began to find my inner strength. During the process, I have packed up myself, my belongings, my three year old daughter, rented the largest available U-Haul and moved to another state. I have gone to college and received my bachelor’s degree (the first in my family!). I will graduate this spring with my master’s degree. I have moved many times and now live in a new area in which I originally had no friends or family. I have found a way to pick up the pieces when I was sure that I could not and some how managed to put them back together. I entered an extremely abusive relationship and found the strength to leave. I have taken apart a toilet and replaced all of the valves (COMPLETELY taken apart the toilet!), replaced screen doors, hung light fixtures, etc.
Most recently, I have purchased my first home in a time when home purchasing is supposed to be nearly impossible, yet I was able to accomplish this feat. My 14 year old daughter and I repainted the whole house, including the ceiling. We moved most of our belongings on our own, cleaned the old house and found that closure. Don’t get me wrong, credit is certainly due to some wonderful friends who pulled through for me. One friend came and helped paint twice and several friends pulled together and helped us to move on the “big day.” However, the reason I say that my daughter and I did most of it is because with the painting, we also used primer and we even painted the ceilings. Painting was a long haul. The moving, we had help with one U-Haul load which was the main load. However, we also brought several car loads over and when all was said and done, we had four U-Haul loads in which my daughter and I did three by ourselves.
Back to the topic of finding strength (see how adequate my title of Meanderings of a Wandering Mind fit? LOL), yesterday was a day spent caulking the bathroom and hauling trash to the dump, all without a man. Don’t get me wrong, if there were a man available to do it, he would so be doing it! LOL As it is, there is no man and I find strength and pride in the fact that I was able to buy the right supplies, scrape out all the old caulk, and fill it in with new – and let me tell you, I did a nice job! In addition, a female friend hooked up her trailer, took me to the old house, we loaded up the trash, took it to the dump, and unloaded. Not only did I gain strength, she did, too. She is proud of herself for being able to hook up the trailer, tow it and especially be able to back it in – something that I know is not easy.
It’s ironic how being forced to do the things that we don’t want to do help to build our character and make us stronger. Often, if we can get someone else to do something for us, we do. I wonder how many self-improvement opportunities we miss out on because of this. I certainly would never have chosen the path that my life has ended up on, and yet I am grateful for it. It has made me who I am today and for the most part, I happen to like me.
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