Friday, July 17, 2015

Bold. Brilliant. Beautiful: The Illusion of Strength

Since Grey’s Anatomy killed off Derek, I’ve been thinking a lot about strength. More specifically the illusion of strength. (I’m sad that Derek is gone, but I’m also very excited for the Fall. I’m still going to watch Grey’s Anatomy, because I know Meredith will bloom and I want to see her soar.)

Rolls of Garland


Yes Meredith is a made up character. Yes she’s flawed and does really stupid things. But in her I see myself. She’s the closest female character on television I can identify with. And everyone needs that. Especially those who everyone looks up to for their strength.

There are those among us who we always look to during a crisis. If they're calm, cool, and collected, we know everything is going to be ok. The world won't end.

But what if you're one of those rocks? The one who knows all the answers. The one who makes everything better. Who do you look to? How do you vent without the world ending? The media. Primetime television series and pop music.


“In your eyes I see the eyes of somebody who could be strong. Tell me if I’m wrong.” – Miike Snow, Animal (Album Version) (*affiliate link)

So many of my friends have shaken their heads at me in disbelief as I identified with Meredith. I remember sitting on the floor of my living room bawling on the phone with a friend back in Texas after Meredith chose Derek over Finn the vet. (My friend didn’t then and probably still doesn’t see me in the Meredith character, but he was immediately on the phone knowing I’d need comforting.)

Why do I identify with Meredith? Because while flawed she keeps going. Sure she melts down, but she picks herself up and tries again. And again. And again.

No one expects her to be strong. No one tells her: “I admire your strength.” “You’re my rock. I don’t know how I’d get through this without you.”

And after awhile, the expectation you’ll always be the calm one is enough to drive you crazy.

Someone once asked me how I keep going. When doors close in my face. When I’m pushed down. When bad things happen.

My answer: There’s no alternative.

I mean really, how often have you heard of someone being handed exactly what they want or what they need? (And face it, if you were handed exactly what you needed, would you recognize it as such?)

Don't get me wrong. I have days when I don’t want to get out of bed. Days I just want to throw in the towel. Days when I wonder what I’m fighting for. If it’s all worth it.


At one point in my life—for a good chunk of it 31% of my life to date—my way of coping was to run. Get in a fast car and go very far away as fast as I could. Sometimes I’d stay where I landed, sometimes not.

Each time I’d start over. Determined to make different choices. Looking for that golden ticket. The key that would open all the doors.

I’ve made, in my mind, just as many questionable decisions as Meredith. Only, unlike Meredith, who was tied to Seattle until Derek died, I made my decisions in multiple cities and states.

“Hope if everybody runs You choose to stay.” – OneRepublic, I Lived(*affiliate link)

Recently I asked my mom how she does it. How she seems to have an unending supply of patience. Turns out she doesn’t. She’s human too. (Best answer a mother of a three year old could hear, especially when everyone, including me, thinks my mom is a saint.)

“My power’s turned on. (Starting right now) I’ll be strong. I’ll play my fight song. … ‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.” –Rachel Platten, Fight Song(*affiliate link)

Instead of Compliment, Support

So, the next time you find yourself about to compliment a friend’s or sister’s strength you admire, stop. Try this instead:

What can I do for you? How can I help you?

Don’t rush your friend for answer. Chances are, no one’s ever asked her that question. Or asked that question and meant it.

And remember: just because a strong friend has never asked for help, don’t assume they have every thing under control. Some of us are just better at falling apart on the inside and behind closed doors.

My Secrets to Remaining Strong

Two Tips for Appearing Strong


A Playlist

My first secret for keeping momentum? Blasting these three songs (Animal, I Lived, Fight Song) again and again until I not only BELIEVE I can do anything, I KNOW I can do anything.

Bold. Brilliant. Beautiful. Online Community

My second secret? An amazing community of strong women. If you’re looking for such an amazing community, check out Bold. Brilliant. Beautiful. Amy of This Heart of Mine Blog is kicking off new challenges. The posts I wrote for the beginning of this project can be viewed here:


genuinely eden

Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.

DISCLOSURE: This post contains an affiliate link, followed by (*affiliate link). I feature products that I own or that I am considering purchasing. I own all of the songs mentioned in this post. All opinions presented are my own.