Alive And Kicking

There are many definitions for it. It can be physical, mental or emotional. Or a combination of all of above. Each and every one defines strength in his or her own way. Life itself will show whether that strength is present or not. Because life tests all of us. At an age that has passed half a century, I have had my strength thoroughly tested, in just about all categories. And I have to conclude that I am a strong man. Because I am still here, alive and kicking.

The most basic of strengths is the physical one. Well, I am not the strongest guy around the block but neither am I weak. That has been tested too. In my youth, on the streets, at school, on the official job that I currently have. Physical violence is a motive that has surfaced in my life every now and then. I have been physically wounded, several times and sometimes somewhat seriously. I healed again. And I am still here, alive and kicking.

My mental strength has been thoroughly tested as well. The pressure to ‘keep it together’. When I took the plunge into the deep several times, especially in the professional department. The pressure, the stress to make it work. ‘Failure is not an option’, so to speak. Because I have to eat and pay rent or a mortgage. I have stepped out of my comfort zone more than once. Each time I gave it my all. I failed and succeeded. I am still here, alive and kicking.

The most tricky of all strengths is the emotional one. The phenomenon ‘emotion’ is enormously complicated, like a maze. Emotions can send you anywhere. Sometimes they have to be suppressed. Because common sense needs to prevail in order to get out of a mess. From an early age, my emotional strength has been tested most of all. It comes with the territory of a passionate ‘feel person’, basically an artist. I am still here, alive and kicking.

I grew up in an environment that tried to keep it together, despite an important member being plagued by a devastating mental decease. As a result of this, I have been exposed to numerous psychological phenomena such as suicide attempts, shrinks and asylums. As a witness, a participant on the side. Nobody’s fault. Yet, there was a lot of love, among all of us, which is still there. This is the foundation of my younger years. I am still here, alive and kicking.

I was married twice. I divorced twice. I have had several relationships. With Dutch, Spanish, American, Belgian and Czech women. All of them vital. They all have taught me something. To all of them I am sincerely grateful. They have made me a better, more complete man. I have made mistakes. Plenty. But all of these were made in good faith. Some may say I am bad at choosing partners. That’s on them. I am still here, lady in my life again, alive and kicking.

My emotional resilience has also been tried out in the work department. As a freelancer and as an employee of several companies. The battle is always to both fit in and remain close to your own personality. You make a choice to come aboard. That is your choice, you have to own it. And hopefully, the job and cooperation with co-workers and the company, its culture, will fit like a glove. This will always be tested. And I will still be here, alive and kicking.

Daring to be different, remaining the independent thinker. Not fitting in the masses. Researching for yourself. Having a minority view, receiving the ‘flak’ for it and having a spine to carry it. That is strength too. On several levels. You know that this will be seen as both a virtue and a vice. Yet, you stick to it, in an informed way, founded by facts. Unwillingly, I have received a reputation due to this. Yet, I am still here, alive and kicking.

Staying true to yourself, striving to fulfill your passions, developing yourself, in a pure, honest way, with integrity, that is the name of the game. Strength is staying close to this. One may be regarded as very strong when one dares to be emotional, open oneself up and be vulnerable. That may inflict damage, one may get hurt. As long as one is certain that one is a good person, also for others. I know I am. That is why I am still here, alive and kicking.

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