“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
If I ever asked you to define strength in a simple phrase, what would your answer be?
The children will tell me about superheroes in their cartoon series, amazed by all the jumps and superpowers combined into seemingly normal people. They will tell you: ”I want to be like Superman. I want to fly high like him”. And yet, yet how ignorant they are about the real meaning of someone flying high.
If you ask teenage girls about strength, they will quote influencers, YouTubers, perfectly fit looking models, and sometimes even pop singers and hot actors right off the bat.
However, if you ask teenage boys, some will talk about their football idol, others will state the basketball legends, while music freaks will talk about Kurt Cobain and Chester Bennington.
If you ask men about what strength is, they will talk about lifting the maximum amounts of weights at the gym, or being able to buy the most expensive car to satisfy the women they want to impress. They will emphasize on the strength of politicians while valuing them in every possible way.
Strength is way farther than this, it is 180 degrees different and it turned out that the definitions elaborated above are not even close to what it truly means to be strong.
“We are all weak until something/someone hits us, destroying every single molecule of us and obliging us to stand up for ourselves and start moving forward again.” This is what my mother once said to me.
In every phase of my life I have viewed strength like the children and the teenage girl I was. Today, I am still on the borders of teenage years, yet my maturity and my level of understanding has grown considerably, turning me into the person I am today. In the blink of an eye, the weak girl I was turned into a completely different person than the one I used to be.
I was a small fragile cloud, I used to stress about every single thing that hits me.
I used to be so ungrateful to the point where I would always forget that I had everything I ever wanted and needed. It was more than the basics needs for any human: a roof to sleep underneath, a family that embraces me a little more every day, friends that accept me at my worst, a university that builds my future, girls I was responsible of as a scout leader who keep on telling me how much they respect me and, most importantly, health for everyone I love.
And yet, in spite of everything I had, I was sad, asking for a lot more.
One day, I was still unhappy with everything I had and then, in a blink of an eye, I saw the whole world around me turn black.
In just one day, my entire perspective on life turned all the way around. I felt so small and ashamed of myself for all the years where a simple thank you I haven’t pronounced, a simple kind of acceptance and gratitude I haven’t shown.
More than regret filled my heart; I was completely drowning in an ocean of dark emotions. I was scared of the present and terrified of what the future has in store for me. I was petrified of betrayal because people are only able to love you at your best. After all, that is what they do best.
Those emotions slowly part of my everyday life, to the day when I reached my breaking point. My mind was blocked, my eyes were filled with pain, my soul was wilting and my heart was cracking. My external self, the one people see, was not representative enough of what was actually happening on the inside: a few tears were pouring down my two pale cheeks cannot describe enough the destruction I was going through internally.
This fragile cloud couldn’t carry any more weight. Eventually, it broke and fell to the ground, the water within it covering its entourage.
After what happened, the cloud had two choices left and only two: to either remain small and empty for the rest of its temporary life, or to rebuild itself in order to support again new drops of water, drops of life and hope. Unhappy with its current label and situation, the fragile cloud decided to rise up and change from “a fragile cloud” to “a strong cloud”.
Eventually when the decision was made, the change did not happen overnight; quite the contrary, it was a long process to follow.
The first step involved starting with the smallest of things: to be grateful for the things the cloud has and to enjoy them to their fullest potential.
The process followed with the acceptance that change is going to be a tough and painful phase, but the pain will eventually fade away and the good will shine again someday. The cloud thought about good productive things to fill its time with.
Finally, the cloud understood the importance of talking to someone. This would result in some kind of therapy. However, it is not the solution to your problems at all, as long as you don’t start with yourself and set goals to work on, because no one will do it for you.
And you, small little fragile cloud, it’s time to wake up and start living your life the proper way. It’s time to realize that sitting here and giving up on your existence isn’t a solution. And remember that you must be weak in order to become a strong cloud later.
“Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
–Saint Francis of Assisi