We often connotate the word “stubborn” as being negative in some manner. When we say someone is stubborn, we mean that as a bad thing. “Oh, he’s stubborn,” we say it in an exasperated voice when the “he” in question doesn’t do one thing or the other.
On the flip-side of this, we will say someone is diligent, or someone endures, but those two words, meaning essentially the same thing as “stubborn,” are seen in a more positive light. All in all, they’re just words, meaning much the same thing. They all mean you keep on keeping on.
My family is known for being stubborn. We call each other stubborn. Sometimes we use it in a bad way, but the word has come to have almost honorific meaning in my family. We are stubborn and we’re proud of it.
Where others might have given up, or deemed something too difficult, we did it. Where others might have given up over not having the proper tools or equipment, we managed. Where others might have given up due to lack of money, we found a way around it. We are stubborn.
My family has been knocked to the ground, time, after time, after time, after time. We also say we have “Little Luck,” Little being the family name and also a description of how much luck we have, which is not much. Bad things happen in my family, a lot. Someone is always in the hospital. Someone is always having relationship issues. I can’t keep track of who is getting together with someone and who is breaking up with someone. One of my cousins is perpetually in trouble with the law. There are health problems floating around like crazy. Someone is always not getting along with someone else. We have bad times.
Pstch…most of my family has been there and done that.
Pstch, pstch…yeah, boring, that’s a normal Tuesday.
Really, say a bad thing and it’s probably happened to someone in my family. Pretty much every member of my family has been at rock-bottom at one point, or more, in their lives.
You would think we would all be jumping off of bridges, drowning our sorrows in alcohol, and playing Russian Roulette at family dinners, as long as someone’s suffering was eased…
You know what…we’re not like that. You knock us down, and we’re getting up, perhaps with crutches, but it’s happening. We’re like those punching bags you can blow up and then knock over, but they come right back up, and then they hit you in the face! Because that’s how we roll!
You do not tell someone in my family that they cannot do something. We will find a way to make it happen. If we have to figure out how to build something from scratch, no big deal, it’s going to happen, because we’ll figure out how to do it. Don’t you tell us that we can’t pour a concrete foundation without a cement truck. We’re stubborn enough that we’ll mix the concrete in a wheelbarrow two bags at a time. True story
This quality has been imparted to me my entire life. If something needed to be done, we figured out a way to do it. I watched my mother learn how to tile floors herself because she could not afford to pay someone to do it. I’ve watched my grandfather come up with on-the-spot solutions that an engineer could have thought up. I’ve watched family members get beat down over and over again, only to get back up and keep going.
There have been times, more times than I would like, where I felt that I couldn’t go on anymore. I felt as if I was at the bottom and I was only sinking further. I dealt with depression as a teenager and it was bad. This wasn’t just, “Oh, I feel kind of blue,” this was, “I want to die.” I did want to die. I wished I was dead. I couldn’t imagine making it past twenty. If you would have asked me when I was a teenager if I thought I would make it to thirty, I would have told you no.
I kept going though. I don’t know why. I think because I was stubborn. Stubbornness was ingrained into me.
I stayed in a marriage I probably shouldn’t have stayed in, longer than I should have, probably because I was stubborn. Being stubborn isn’t always a good thing, as I established at the beginning of this writing.
When I was finally separated from my ex, which is still not final-final, some awful things happened to me. I felt as if I was at the bottom, again. I was at a point where I was scared he was going to be around every corner and that I was going to have to run away in the middle of the night with whatever I could throw into my car. I was experiencing anxiety attacks. I was broke. I was being threatened. I was afraid for every aspect of my life. I was a mess.
I didn’t run away though. I stood firm. When there was an accusation thrown at me, I countered it. When evidence was asked for, I provided it. I kept on, even when I really didn’t feel like it. At some point I told myself that I wasn’t going to let my ex push me around. I’m not even done with everything yet. Things are still coming at me through this, but I’ve come this far, and I’m going to keep going.
I’ve had some wonderful examples in my family of people who just kept on, no matter what happened in their lives to drag them down, my family kept on. I’ve felt like quitting, but I haven’t. There were times I didn’t have a lot of hope, but I had stubborn. That stubborn dragged me along and got me to where I am today.
I can’t say I’m in the most wonderful position, but everything will be ok in the end and I will have a stubborn streak ten-miles wide to thank for it.