Strength. My word of the year.
When I picked this word, I really didn't know what to do with it. I knew it was supposed to be a mantra of sorts, something to work towards this year. Beyond that, though, I didn't know where else to go with it. A lot of people use their word as a prompt for their art, their scrapbooks, their photography... but I was stuck.
Why did I pick the word "strength"? Well, I want to get back to a place where I feel strong, both in mind and body. Last year was rough. I had a lot of fun times, but I had a lot of external sources pulling me down and making my internal self feel unsettled. Then, around Thanksgiving, I got dealt a very low blow that has stuck with me almost 6 months later (although, I am happy to say that I think about it far less now than I did at the beginning.)
What does being strong in mind mean? For me, it means coming out of the self-conscious place where I so often find myself. I am not, by nature, very confident. Depending on the situation, I can feel very inadequate, dumb, ugly...you name it, I've felt it (as I'm sure every woman has).
I am currently in a production of "Steel Magnolias" playing the part of Annelle, and the other day, my theme of strength really came rushing in on me when I thought about the meaning behind the title of this play. This play centers around women, all in different walks of life, all with different struggles. They appear delicate and often vulnerable, but when you get right down to it, they are strong as steel. Every one of those women have to get up every day and face a life that they probably didn't expect to have. Whether it be a disease, losing a loved one, being left by a cheating husband, or having to support a family... each woman in that show has had to make hard decisions and face fears just to survive and to ultimately be happy.
I find myself in that same boat, and can definitely relate to these women. I definitely have a life I didn't ever dream I'd have, and while some of it is very good, a lot of it has been very bad. I still struggle with self-esteem because of some life circumstances I cannot change, but instead of wallowing in those feelings, I focus on the positives in my life. To me, that is not being naive, that is being strong. If I wallow in self-pity over the bad and let things people say about me bring me down, I'm being weakened and letting evil win. This isn't to say I don't need to be humble. I'm not always right. I don't always say or do the right thing or make the right decision, but I need to have the strength to believe that I am a good person who deserves respect and love.
I have been honored to be part of "Steel Magnolias." While I still feel inadequate at times (the other actresses are so good!) I have also learned so much about inner strength through my time with this show. Hopefully, I'll be able to carry it out throughout the year and beyond.