Being Strong Isn’t Always Physical

Haley - West Deptford, New Jersey
Entered on April 22, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: illness

I believe that being strong isn’t always a physical trait. I might not look it, but I have pulled through some pretty hard times in which being physically strong was much less a requirement than being mentally strong.

Some people try to deal with difficult emotions through physical strength – maybe by punching things, harming their own bodies, or participating in some extreme physical activity. Although these may be temporary fixes, rarely does this type of “venting” help a person in the long run. In fact, there is a good chance that someone or something will be harmed.

A few years ago my dad was in the hospital for two consecutive years. We got many calls during those years from the doctors to say they didn’t think he was going to make it through the night. There was one time, though, when they didn’t think he was going to make it even two hours, and that really hit me hard.

My dad had contracted MRCA, and the virus had traveled down his whole left side of his back. He was allowed few, if any, visitors during that time, and I wasn’t allowed to see him for about a month. But he later on told me he kept on convincing himself he was going to make it, and eventually he did.

While I was kept from the hospital, I busied myself with school and sports to keep me away from home and from thinking about my dad. But although I appeared busy on the outside, I couldn’t stop thinking about him. Instead of feeling sorry for myself or for him, though, I kept telling myself that if he could fight and be strong, even after losing so much of his physical strength, so could I.

It was a long road to recovery, but my dad made it through and we both came out of the situation with more confidence that we could bear the difficult emotions sickness brings out for everyone involved.

These days in the media, there is so much emphasis on getting a slimmer, stronger body. Kids admire professional athletes or body builders or other celebrities because they have a cut figure or they can bench a certain amount of weight. But my question is, can all these physically strong role models be emotionally strong role models too? Can these people face their most difficult emotions and come out ten times stronger? If the media showed idols demonstrating more emotional strength than physical strength, kids today could see that emotional strength is just as important as physical strength. This I believe.