I’m not brave and strong

I’m not brave and strong, I’m doing what’s right.

Working full-time going to school rearing a toddler getting married to her father and dealing with deaths all in the same breaths, was hard, but not brave. I did what needed to be done.

When I feel completely abandoned and exhausted, used and broken, and I go on, I’m not being strong-I simply have no other choice but to continue to exist. It’s not being brave, it’s being trapped.

When I can’t afford to take time off, get sick or hurt because not only I but everyone I know is tapped out, and there is no  reserve anything, anywhere, ever, it’s not brave to go on. It’s survival.

When I speak in my own voice without raising the pitch, lowering the volume, performing submissive body language cues or equivocating, that’s not being strong. It’s being myself.

When I speak my mind about social issues, politics or values, that’s not brave, that’s what people should do, with mutual respect.

When I wear clothing that is not considered flattering, feminine, or fashionable, I’m not exhibiting strength, I’m choosing for myself what’s best for me.

When I highlight subtle parts of culture that perpetuate damaging behaviors I’m not being brave, I’m doing the right thing.

When I disregard the social structures that dictate so many people’s lives, when I stand proud of who I am without believing media that tells me I am less, this is not a time when I am being strong or brave. It is a time I am loving myself wholeheartedly.

I’m only strong and brave by comparison.

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