On my many walks with Violet this week I have listened to the The Guilty Feminist podcasts by the amazing Deborah Frances-White.
I believe it was podcast no. 81 ‘Strength and Weakness’ featuring Jessica Fostekew and Sindhu Vee in which Deborah talks about her experience in writing for X amount of minutes (without taking her fingers off the keyboard) about her strengths and weaknesses. This technique of writing is said to be a way of letting the subconscious take over, enabling the writer to potentially discover something about themselves that their conscious mind has been hiding.
What Deborah wrote was so poetic and beautiful and inspiring, so of course I had to try this out for myself.
I started a blank document and used Google as a timer (apparently it can do that for you). I wrote for five minutes about my strengths and five minutes about my weaknesses.
This is unedited.
What are my strengths well I think I am able to power through things a lot better than I initially realise. I have been through a lot of trauma and I do not give myself any credit. I have been through lots of suicidal thinking and I have never really stopped to think about how many times I have been able to see the end of the day and the beginning of the next.
I am strong because when I fell pregnant I created that child and brought her into the world. Even that was a struggle. I continued to live as she did, and as we both do now. I am her mother and will always be her mother, and there is a lot of strength in that, something that is not really valued as something much in this modern world.
I have the ability to create new ideas in my mind, to help others as much as I can, and to remember to look after myself. I used to be utterly terrible at that so I think I am only getting better. It’s a huge fucking relief to be getting better, getting stronger, because I don’t think I’ve ever been so weak in all my life back in 2015 and 2016. They are times that I can only let take me down or push me up, and it really does take a lot of emotional strength to float rather than sink.
I am strong because I know myself and I know that I am actually worth something. I am worth fighting for. I know that I am the only one who can fight for me to stay alive. My daughter reminds me to stay alive everyday and I fight for her too. But it is not selfish of me to say that I am fighting for myself as well, if not more. It’s my life and I have got to live it, so they say.
I am weak because I’ve only just started to really champion myself, after such a long time. I know that other people have it much, much worse than me but I can only express how I am feeling and how I have felt.
I have been weak in making decisions and sticking to them. I have been weak in watching the time pass and not doing much about it. I have been weak in not looking after myself, not just in a physical sense, but mostly in an emotional one.
I am weak when it comes to actually liking myself. I am weak in my body, though really, and again, I am better off than a lot of people around the world. I have a lot of privileges that they do not have, and yet, I still consider my body weak when it does not deal well with stress or foods or whatever. I begin to think life is not worth living if my body reacts in such a way to emotional stress. Really, it is my body trying to tell me to take a minute and regroup, so perhaps that is not such a weakness after all.
My weakness of impatience is what bothers me the most. I cannot stand not being successful quickly, I quickly brand myself as a failure, and I believe that I am not worthy of something if it does not happen fast. I run towards the future but time does not travel at the same speed as me, leaving me frustrated and disheartened to the point where I make myself stuck in the past. Impatience is a curse and it makes me weakest of all.
If any of you lovely folk decide to have a go at this, or have any particular episodes of The Guilty Feminist that you think I MUST listen to, please let me know in the comments!