Part 2 of DEFENSELESS, a collection of thoughts for 2015.
Recently someone told me I had a strong personality, and y’all… it totally hurt my feelings. I listen and read and ask a lot of questions, but I talk a lot too. I try to keep it to invite-only, but when someone asks how I feel about something, I’d like to think there’s freedom to share it. So why did it sting to hear my personality referred to as strong? Without getting into politics and discussing feminism, can I say I felt hurt because of my perception of womanhood?
I’ve always had a fear of being “too much.” I don’t think men could ever understand this, but you women know what I’m talking about. I fully acknowledge that I lead a very privileged life, and don’t worry. I’m discussing that tomorrow. Privilege aside, there’s still a lot of stigma out there with women and their roles. In some conversations, I feel like I can’t say the same thing as my husband without receiving judgment. In some conversations, I feel like my opinions are unwelcome or regarded as out of place. Even if those things aren’t actually true, I feel the weight of my womanhood as a burden when it comes to my voice.
To be clear, the comment was made in a conversation full of love and encouragement. But there were several similar conversations over the span of a few months, and the culmination of it all got my wheels turning. I went on this quest to prove that I wasn’t strong. I remember raising my voice at my husband in my kitchen one night about it. I told him I felt like I was ringing a bell that sang, “I am meek! I am mild! I am a listener! I follow directions!” and that I felt like nobody was listening to me. I remember raising my voice. Being defensive.
And then I began to see. I might actually have a strong personality. There’s nothing wrong with that. God made me fearfully and wonderfully, and He designed me to communicate to people. He created me strong.
But He also created me to be soft, to listen and choose to stay quiet sometimes. He created me to meet people where they’re at, to sit on opinions and work through them. He created me to filter my perspective through the gospel of Jesus and how fiercely He loves people. Just watch Me, Rach. Watch Me and learn. You can be strong and soft.
Strength celebrated and leveraged. Eyes and ears and heart open. I stand defenseless.