My identity in mormonism was a very contradictory one. I was told by women, not men, that I was not as important because I was female. I was either told by men that I was important and strong, or silence which communicated as agreement to what I’d been told by those women.
I was taught that I must be herculeanly strong, while being humble. Strong enough to carry the weight of the world, but “humble” enough to not take any credit and give ALL the credit to the men, and someday my husband. Because there was no other life path besides marriage and kids. To never say no, (whether that was serving the ward, having sex, having more kids, etc) and always agree to take on more, while also giving all the credit to my husband or god. To never complain of the load, and instead praise my husband for his amazingness for just existing.
I liked feeling “secretly strong” and it felt like I was doing the right thing by not taking credit. When all that was doing was losing my sense of self. Learning to know my limits. Learning to say no.
Now I feel free to acknowledge my power. I acknowledge my weaknesses and don’t let them bring me down. Being a complex person is incredibly empowering. I don’t have to hide my weaknesses or flaws. I can openly claim them, and what I’m doing to grow and make them stepping stones.
And I don’t have to hide my strengths either! I can be a badass without apologizing for taking up too much space. When I find myself playing it small, sometimes I stretch my shoulders to remind myself that I am allowed to take up space. Not because of what I am or what I do, but simply by being me.