Take the Sidewalk: on weakness, strength and the description of masculinity

Cookie from Empire serving truth

He called me ‘weak’. At first, I nodded my head agreeing; my body is not as heavy as his, my eyes don’t blaze with strained masculinity like his flaming eyes do, and I surely don’t tend to deal with things violently. Although, later, the more I questioned the concept of weakness, the more I realized that I am not at all weak. Look at the ordeals that burdened my young years — which I confronted, look at the inner and outer wars that I fought, looks at the paths which I walked barefoot, and the defeats inflicted on me — and the defeats I inflicted on my defeats.

I am not weak because I, simply, don’t dread the truth. I don’t dread my reflection, my flaws, and I don’t fear my imperfection. Unlike him. He uses the weaving of his lies as a blanket he rolls under, exactly like a fetus; hiding and reluctant to face the world. But I see him: transparent, naked, and I see his truth which he tries to escape tirelessly. I declare it to him, and so he confronts me with the weapon of denial. He’s significant in his echoes and shadow on the wall. Strong in his pretentiousness; mighty through his makes, but in reality he’s a coward; weak; fragile. Fragile like a hollow shell, fragile like a shiny promise.

He described me with weakness, and I rejected. Look at me then look at yourself. I, despite the criticism, the suspicion, and the trouble that chase me, still celebrate my uniqueness, I still stand still and carry on walking, regardless of the mountains that weigh my shoulders. I had never desired to console myself with a lie to change who I am. No, I am not weak. Maintaining my identity all this time is power itself. While your surrendering, your submissiveness to the tide, your acceptance of subordination and dishonesty, and pretending to possess a cruelty foriegn to you is weakness itself. You’re weak.

Let there be a new definition for strength: one that is not soaked in physical superficiality, one that is not made of masculine stereotypes, and one not indulgent on machismo or motivated by pretentiousness. Let strength be a synonym for truth: acknowledging one’s fragility and incompleteness, and embracing them.