If you met me on the street, your first thought might be somewhat like a sticker on a box of wine glasses, “Fragile! Handle with Care,” because I am not assertive, because I won’t attempt any sort of intellectual show down, because I will make you forget that I am a foot taller than you. I will allow you to lead, to flex your various muscles. If you are less attractive than I am, I will let you feel superior to me because I know that we don’t choose our physical appearance. Today, December 22, 2013, I feel inclined to proclaim to the world, “I may seem fragile, like a pane of glass or an egg, but maybe you have underestimated the strength of an eggshell.”
I need to remind myself of my hidden strengths. My definition of myself cannot be altered by public opinion. If I allowed myself to be what other people think I am, I wouldn’t be writing this post, or breathing for that matter. Yet, here I am. During my husband’s affaire, all of my girlfriends were baffled by my capacity to keep on putting dinner on the table. They must have thought that I was trying to retain him. That was not the case. During that amazingly shitty moment of my life, my weight began to drop and then kept on plummeting. At the worst of it, I weighed 50 kilos. Which is ugly on a six foot tall body. I have strong survival instincts. Cooking, sitting down at the table, sleeping in my own bed, routine tasks were keeping me alive. “Stronger” women would have thrown dishes, left home, slept on a friend’s couch. For me, keeping up some sort of normality was essential.
This never-ending year (God let it be over) has thrust me into new experiences I was in no way prepared for. Like swimming upstream, like being so far out of my comfort zone that I am amazed that I did not drown. I am still swimming. The paths I have chosen to explore have revealed to me a brutality I was pretty much unaware of before. I have taken some blows. Thanks to internet, these punches in the gut have been grotesquely amplified, but I am not obligated to hurt myself. I can look, or I can look away. I can carry on my life. Having this choice empowers me.
Fragile? Not so much. Looks really can be deceiving.