What does it mean to be strong in a world where it is defined by stoicism and physicality? Is it still possible to strong when you exist beyond these categories?

The more people I meet, the more I begin to realise that strength is to exist in the face of adversity. And adversity exists in several forms, for me they are barriers which prevent each person from being wholly themselves – with a longstanding fear of being rejected by societal norms.

My name is Huma, and I am 20 years old. Despite being this age, I feel like I have lived for much longer. The experiences and conversations I have had up until now, have taught me a lot about myself and others around me. For example, that resilience is acquired through withstanding difficult moments. Each challenge manifests itself differently for each person; strife chooses to appear on its own accord, at any time within someone’s life.

As an individual without any chronic illnesses, I acknowledge the privilege I hold and recognise that the daily tasks I complete are taken for granted. Waking up in the morning, preparing yourself for the day and fulfilling the responsibilities placed upon you – may seem minute for some, but can become a set of obstacles for another.

Completing the tasks demanded of us, requires a lot of energy. The source of this energy is influenced by a lot of factors, from diet to sleep. However, what happens when this energy source is constantly depleted, regardless of how much effort is put into maintaining it?

From that point onwards, the feeling of achievement becomes more and more difficult to attain. Especially when we live in a culture which prides itself on accomplishing the most, often at the expense of one’s own mental and physical health.

It is at this point where we must, collectively, redefine what it means to be strong. To be strong is to rest when responsibilities become too burdensome to fulfil. To be strong is to listen to yourself, creating a moment’s silence in a space full of noise. Let strength evolve from the unnecessary expectations we once internalised, to understanding the varying degrees in which we fight to exist in the world today.

Written by

Huma Mahmood

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