Top 5 strongest women as per Slay Strong for the month of June.
What does it means to be a strong woman?
A strong woman
* Fights against expectations.
* Bounces back.
* Knows who she is.
* Follows her own path.
* Is unapologetic about who she is.
* Is a fighter.
* Is balanced.
* Doesn’t let others define her.
* Is grounded in her faith.
* Isn’t afraid to be true to her feelings.
* Respects herself
* Is humble.
All of us face challenges. But how many of us don’t give up and use those challenges to our advantage? Those who do, becomes an inspiration for all of us.
Here we have 5 strong women sharing their stories of courage and strength.
Dr. Priya Dolma Tamang
Strength lies in the ability to experience, endure and eradicate circumstances that would otherwise have broken our resolve. I have always been categorised as a “strong woman”, be it in terms of the career choices I’ve made, the risks I managed to take and the social/environmental/personal setbacks that ensued. It has never been easy with my bohemian ways to contort into a tiny box of expectations. I am much more than that – much more than a pleasing image to the judgmental eyes. My skin hides stories of cheating men , of battled lies that lied like truth. There is a secret wish in every tear. I am made of guilt, regrets, trauma and memories. I go back to the day when I was just 17, and from then on, things have been a roller coaster ride of either a lot of pain or a lot of joy. This is adult life. There is nothing easy, yet everything comes as a time bound lesson. We grow, we learn, in time.
Despite several issues that I’d preferably not talk about, there is an incident quite close to my psyche which reminds me even today, that at 17, I was a strong girl, and a decade later, I grew up into a stronger woman. It was the year 2007, I got accepted into a regional medical college through common entrance examination. The university was situated in Imphal, Manipur. With a disturbed locale and not much entertainment beyond the campus, the seniors would spend all their free time ragging the freshers. I happened to be a chief target of those prying bullies. Just a pampered kid, with zero life skills, no diplomacy or tact and severely homesick for the first time to have been sent alone on what seemed like a Mars mission, I was traumatised. My clothes were pulled and torn. I was made to kill mosquitoes while they watched late night movies. A bucket was hung around my neck and I was asked to fill it with my tears. We had to roll on the cold hard concrete with bottles of cooking oil spilled over our heads. Their slippers were cleaned by me. I was called names that were beyond my comprehension.The abuse was mental, physical and emotional. This continued for 6 months. Medical colleges and ragging are probably synonymous. I would have managed to sail through it but my family was intimated by a third person about what was going on. They were overprotective and worried. The head of the institute was informed. An enquiry committee set up. We were questioned. The miscreants were punished. Ragging was banned. What sounds like a success story is not what actually happened thereafter. I was ostracized not only by the seniors, but by almost all of my batch mates and the future batches that came, for questioning a lifelong tradition in the history of the institute. I was disliked, hated and berated for being instrumental in the anti-ragging committee that was created, and the people who were suspended due to it. I did not have a direct role to play, it was my family, but actually the person who conveyed the news to them. But they remained unaffected. On the other hand, I had seniors pushing me around intentionally while I walked the road. They would slur slangs at my face. Or some of them would post very malicious statements about me on social media. The bullying didn’t stop. My reputation was thoroughly jeopardized. This hampered the quality of life I had in 6 years of my medical schooling. However, I managed to pass with good grades and nothing could keep me stuck there.
For me, this is strength, pure, undiluted and independent. I faced it with bravado and silenced it with my silence. Ragging is an inhumane and cruel manner to treat any other person. Respect is derived from your actions as an individual, not commanded through force.
Dr. Nidhie Saini
I had been molested as a child of four and I experienced victim blaming at a very early age. I couldn’t live with myself and I couldn’t trust anybody. I was told to forget it but that tragedy took up half of my brain and I still remember it clearly. I guess that’s when it started. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to kill myself. I remember praying to God to end me. I remember trying to jump off the building because God wouldn’t kill me. I remember wanting to get lost. I was just another weird kid for my parents. I didn’t know how to express the smallest thing I was feeling. I never confided in anybody. I had few friends, in fact, I preferred books to people. I would often lock myself in a room and paint or read all day.
My parents didn’t quite understand me. Nobody did. I grew up painting scenarios I would better be in than this life and As I grew up, my art turned into poetry. Reading and studying to make up for less social contact did make me a brilliant kid in school but my mind was a battlefield and I was always running away from it whenever I wasn’t doing something else.In college, I opened up to some people but my trust issues got worse. I looked happy. People looked at me as the luckiest, funniest girl around. In my head, I was constantly collapsing. A voice was forever telling me to stop all bullshit and go to die. I was extremely suicidal and my head was noisy. In 2016, I got diagnosed with major depressive disorder and I started medication. Before I went to see a psychiatrist, I had attempted suicide over seven times. I did have the intention to kill myself every time but somehow, someone or the other called me right at the moment and I stopped. During one of my suicide attempts, I wrote a poem. That’s when I realized I could still write. I started writing again, years after school. There’s a thing with depression, when you feel it is over, it comes back. Every time my depression came back, I had poetry to create.
My art had my back. My art has never let me down. I still don’t have many friends. I am really expressive in art but not so much in real life, not always. You see, the funny people mostly tell jokes and not their stories. I have found a soul mate in my words. I can live in peace as long as I can create and add meaning to my life and of those who read it. ‘I have a mouth for a heart and all it says is Poetry, Poetry, Poetry.’
Steffy Adonia Pinto
I grew up in a protected single mom environment. Always neglected by the world as I never had that confidence in me to prove my worth. I had to take up my family responsibility. I started working when I was 18. I have a mother and a sister who is still studying . I’ve always dreamt of being into media or in travel industry. But I couldn’t choose a career of my own as I had thousands of responsibilities. But I had to do something for myself. One fine day, post a heart break I decided to travel on my own. I fell in love with my self the very day.
I travel every weekend, meet 50 people approximately on weekends with full confidence and take them to travel the world. I had no passion of my own. I now have my own identity ( small although but something of my own) I trek around India ,travel for free, people all around me and enjoy the adventurous life to the fullest. I met with a horrible accident where I had to go through a plastic surgery. Life : unpredictable it is. Who knew one fine day I would meet with an accident in a such normal situation? I always imagined my self dying a different death but had I seen death from so near. Did I know how does death really feel like I would have never imagined my death ever. Death : End of a beautiful life. One fine day one Taxi driver fell asleep while driving and dashes to a trailer who was just parked aside peacefully. Had I imagined my life would be destroyed post that accident , No….After 2 hours of continuous bleeding what I feared was my death without having a glance of my mother’s face and without saying I love her for the last time. What came along with an accident ?
➡ Trauma of an accident which didn’t allow me take a nap. Will it ever stop? I had to give time to my mind and body to heal on its own, be strong enough to fight back every bad dream I get .
➡Fear of what will happen to my face ? Nothing , I was and I’m still Beautiful it’s just a normal hurt and fracture which would heal with time and not to forget the advancement our science has done in it’s field.
➡Will the surgery help me get back to Normal? Yes as per the Doctors whom I didn’t trust until I met my Surgeon..
➡ Is the plastic Surgery really required? My face couldn’t be stitched normally hence a plastic surgery was a must.
I will always be grateful for my family and best friends for being beside me in my worst time. What made me recover soon? “No one is going to hand me success. I must go out & get it myself. That’s why I’m here. To dominate. To conquer. Both the world, and myself.” Also not to forget the love and support I received from my Family and Friends … Love them all. Just a message to all, be strong what so ever is the situation , fall down but do not forget to get up and live your dream again.
For me, the definition of courage is to be brave and confident enough to do what I believe in. Life hasn’t been an easy journey for me, I agree. Nurtured by my mother solely, I was taught to be brave right from my childhood. My parents’ broken marriage took a toll on me and my mother. I never knew I could come this far. But, she held my hands strongly and said we could make it. We haven’t stopped supporting each other since then. Financial instability was always a matter of concern for us. Surviving on the bare needful, I knew I had to be firm and resilient. I completed my graduation in English and also did a Masters from the University of Calcutta. After being thrown out of the house where we stayed with our aunt, I had no other option but to struggle.
I was 22 then, with no job or penny in my hand. We took a rented apartment but we had other things to worry. We didn’t know how to feed our hungry stomachs. I started distributing pamphlets, trying to attract students for private tuition. From there, I have come a long way. Now I teach more than 350 students. I also taught in a school for one and a half year. Long working hours, impolite behavior of the colleagues, dark looks, frowned faces almost suffocated my dreams. I was searching for a way to escape this drudgery. Getting the support of my mother, I left my job and began my journey of expstudents. Writing gives me solace and allows me to express. It helps me to connect with my innermost self.
I have even authored three English Guide books, based on ICSE and ISC syllabus, that are read by the students of my hometown, Kolkata. My book MINUSCULES, is a collection of micro tales and short stories, written on various of themes like love, loss, trauma, heal, war, unrequited love, etcetera. I hope to continue my creative exploration and write more and more. What I have learnt from my journey is that it is very important to love what you are doing else it’s futile to continue it. Another thing is that you must be original in your thoughts and creative ideas. They shouldn’t be borrowed from elsewhere. There isn’t any shortcut to success. Absolute dedication and hard work are the only ways to achieve it.
‘ A girl is always meant to live life in limits’.’ Since my childhood I have heard these words by elders.But my heart never wanted to settle on this statement. I always wanted to learn more and more. There were times when I had many problems in my life and the only solution to all of this was writing. Poetry became a healing in my life. When I joined writing community on Instagram I felt I don’t write so well. The more and more I explored and read I gradually grew as a poet.And while exploring I met people who were dealing with different problems. I thought of using social media as a tool for helping people whether by poetry or by having conversations.
I spent days and nights listening to them and writing things that actually heal or motivate or raise voice against wrong. Few months ago , my poetry about the encouragement of special child was performed by a crew who were part of dance plus show and they won the event.That wasn’t the end , apart from poetry I began with reviewing the book to explore more in the field of writing and also began writing my own book. I don’t know if it is inspiring or not but I feel if someone like me who had failed and survived and reached here in life then anyone can. It’s just one’s passion that can take them to anywhere.
Feel free to share your feedbacks in the comment section.