Strong Is Beautiful

Strong Is Beautiful

Strong is Beautiful
By Sylvia Abuwi
April 7, 2020
(Posted May 29, 2020)

The words are part of the collage on my wall. Accompanied by a picture of a young black woman with a braided hairstyle. Her hair appears to be the main focus of the photo since her earrings, a gold triangle, are not at all big. The top she is wearing leaves her shoulders exposed and all we can see is her strong, minimally made up face, her beautiful cocoa skin and her bold braided hairstyle. The background of the photo is white. She is focused ahead with a relaxed determination on her face. And below her  in gold, all caps, are the words; strong is beautiful.

I was attracted by the words. 

The words have been a personal mantra. Especially since we entered life after ‘Rona. When on the inside, all I want to do is lie in bed and replay all my wrong decisions, all my mistakes. Abuse myself over the imperfection that is me. When I want to sleep the days away and pretend this isn’t actually happening. When I want to avoid all the new demands being made on my time, on my strength, on my patience, on my determination. When I want to just curl up in my bed and hang a sign on my door that reads “Wake me up when it’s all over!”. 

When that is all I want to do, I think to myself how many people need me to do the very opposite of that. My children need me to be strong for them and send the message, with my presence that everything is going to be okay. My husband who is miles away, who can only support us with his words and his money, needs me to demonstrate my ability to hold it down in his absence. My friends and family need to hear from me and see my face smiling back at them over video calls. My descendants need me right now too. The future generations coming behind me need me to get out of bed. They need me to be strong for their future moms, dads and grandads. 

But even more than all that, I need me. I need me to get out of bed each day. I have to live up to my own values and beliefs. And I do believe; strong is beautiful.  

Each day I get up and I attempt to put on my brave face. I do this by getting dressed in clothes that make me feel good about myself. I style my hair. I put on make-up. I put on my earrings. I even spray on a bit of perfume. I get ready each day to live life. Not just allow these days to completely melt into each other but to send the message to everyone seen and not seen that I am here. I am okay. I am walking in victory. I recognize I am still an inspiration. I have hope. I am strong. I am creative. I am miraculous. 

Everyday I keep pushing forward and remind myself that strong is beautiful. Now is not the time for me to shrink back from the challenge of life. Now it is necessary more than ever to put on my face and be strong.

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