ELEANOR ROOSEVELT SAID: "A WOMAN IS LIKE A TEA BAG - YOU CAN'T TELL HOW STRONG SHE IS UNTIL YOU PUT HER IN HOT WATER." TELL US ABOUT A TIME YOU FELT YOUR STRENGTH.
I can think of two instances to share.
Back in the 1980's at some point (I can't narrow it down much more than that), I participated in a Walk-a-thon of 30K in Salt Lake City. I was basically sedentary at the time, so I should have worked up to it or done some training or something. I had gotten myself a portable tape player (yes, it was that long ago) and a Terrence Trent D'Arby tape. At lunchtime, I changed into a fresh pair of socks, which helped a lot. I had my first wheatburger. Near the end of the route, I was sliding my feet along the ground, but I finished it. Physical strength? Eh. Mule stubbornness? More than a little.
I went to a party that night for a woman from work who was moving to Hawaii with her family. When I left I had to walk down a hallway were people were sitting. I had to ask them to move their legs because I could not lift my feet to step over them.
The second occasion happened when my husband and I had two children. We were going through a rough patch financially and my mother-in-law had us served with papers to try and get custody of our boys, then about 3 and 4. After my obligatory freak-out, I went to speak with a lawyer that a counselor had suggested. He said he would take the case for $400 up front and whatever it would cost afterwards. I didn't have $400 to give him for the whole process, let alone 'up front'.
So I contacted West Texas Legal Aid. When I spoke to the lawyer, he seemed confident that not only were the children not 'in danger', but that my in-laws did not have standing to bring the case in the first place. They did not show up to the first hearing, claiming the could not fly in due to 9/11 (which was about 6 weeks previous). They were granted a continuance. When the rescheduled hearing came up, they were visiting from California and expected that we would let them take the boys out to a restaurant ... by themselves. How can I put this....NOT! When they found out they would not even be allowed to see the boys until after the hearing, we next heard that the case was being dropped.
Having been down that road once before, I said, "Until we have papers from the lawyers proving that the case has been dismissed, I am showing up at the court." Within just a few days before the rescheduled hearing the case was dropped.
The most powerful I've ever felt was the day I walked out of the first meeting with West Texas Legal Aid. I was walking on air! At that point in my life, my usual course of action would have been to cave. But a line was crossed that I could not let stand. It's nice to know what your limits are.