If someone were to come up to you and say you had a strong personality, how would you respond?
If you’re a woman, my guess is that you would not say thank you. Somewhere along the line, ‘strength’ in a female personality became a pejorative term. I have been called a ‘strong personality.’
But what does that mean?
I have spent a lot, a lot of my life trying to be less of that strong personality- less intimidating, less overbearing. And in all truth, much of my journey has been a good one. I have come through a lot of anger, a lot of bitterness, and a lot of blaming and I have worked on my own ‘stuff.’ One friend describes me as a much “softer” person than I used to be.
But here’s the thing- after all that work, after all those tears, after all the changing I’ve done- it doesn’t feel like enough. Though I feel like I’ve recognized, repented, and restructured my life, it’s not enough. I still feel a pull that is telling me I’m too strong, too loud, too colorful, too opinionated, too confident, even too tall. But why?
Is it wrong that I feel comfortable in leadership positions?
Is it a problem that I can hold my own on the basketball court?
Is it selfish that I pursue my dreams and career goals?
Is it threatening that when I have an opinion I voice it?
Is it a crime if I believe I have self-worth?
Is it my fault that my talents cause you to feel insecure about yours?
I’m tired of trying to be something that I’m not. Tired of trying to hide my talents so I won’t outshine others. Tired of talking quieter because I’m afraid of offending someone. Tired of filtering my opinion because I know you’d rather I had none.
Many women have been stripped of voice, stripped of confidence, stripped of any God-given strengths. Is it better that I lie low not to stand out, or that I become that voice, that confidence, that strength that so many of my sisters have been denied? I don’t know, maybe my strong personality will be a beacon to them on the hopeless horizon that has become their lives. Maybe we can learn to be strong together.
I want to be strong and loud- want to dance when I feel like it, speak when I have something to say, lead when I know the way. I’d like to see what people would say then.
Certainly, they wouldn’t have the audacity to call me strong.