Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How Tough Are You?

Life is hard.  It throws difficulties at us all the time.  The weight of those problems can crush a person.

Toughness, in my opinion, is the ability to withstand life's hardships.  It is resilience against the things that go wrong.  Toughness is having a strong will that enables you to pursue goals with tenacity.

Are you tough?  There's a test at the end of this post which you can use to measure your toughness.  Some people are strong; some are not.  Some are hardy; some are not.  See how you fare.

My mother was tough -- which surprised people because of her short height (4'11") and gender.  My mother could struck fear in anyone's heart.  I saw grown men quiver at her approach.  Her visceral strength was astounding: when my mother bit your leg, she didn't let go until you did what she wanted.  My mother single-handedly turned a group of misfits into a "family;" she controlled and dominated the entire herd.  Maura and I used to joke that my mother could have run Russia better than Stalin; she had a stronger iron grip.

Here are some questions to gauge your personal toughness.  Feel free to answer any of them or just free-associate your thoughts on the subject:

- When your brother pulls your ponytail, what do you do?  Cry for Mommy?  Try to reason with him?  Squeeze his grapes?

- When your boyfriend forgets an important occasion, do you make excuses for him?  Confront him in anger?  Reach for a kitchen knife?

- When a project at school or work turns out to be harder than expected, how do you react?  Buckle down and dig into the work?  Pull out your bong?  Shop for shoes?

- When your motorcycle hits 140 mph at the racetrack, are you excited?  Scared?  In need of new underwear?

- When someone leaves a nasty comment on your blog, do you ignore it?  Write a new post about how your feelings are hurt?  Or blast the offender on her blog with snappy insults?

- When a co-worker acts haughty or passive-aggressive, what do you do?  Complain to the boss?  Put laxative in her coffee?

- When you fall off your motorcycle and break some ribs, how long do you wait to order new riding gear?  Two hours?  Two days?  Forever?

Your turn...


  1. Well tough could be a relative term, because I think there is toughness and then there is strength. I am a very strong woman and I can deal with a lot physically and emotionally, it takes a lot to push me over the edge into a non-coping mode. But I am also very sensitive to things and people, sometimes its really hard to deal with the two aspects of my personality. My husband says I make iron look like silly putty, because I persevere and am very stubborn he says. I can tell you how much persistence, perseverance and strength I have, when I had my wipe out a few years back, I got back on and rode and it wasn't only until a few hours later that I conceded that there was something really wrong and I went into shock. Thats was my stubborness and lets face it stupidity for not paying attention to the cues my bod was giving me. Despite all of that two days later I bought a scooter, I could hardly walk when I went to look at it and there was absolutely no test driving because I couldn't lift my leg over the bike. But as it settled 8 months later I moved onto getting my motorcycle license and a bike. Yup I am strong and persistent.

    So did you bust ribs in the fall?

  2. Well I guess I "thought" I was tougher than I am since I did write a post today to express that my feelings were hurt. LOL Ah well. I'm still no wuss though.

    Your Mom sounds like a lady I worked for in Italy. I called her mini Mussolini.


  3. I cry. At the drop of a hat. I cry when happy, when sad, when angry, when laughing, when excited. And it took me until recently that realize that crying and being tough are not mutually exclusive. I've dealt with some very difficult and stressful times in my life, and in those situations, being tough meant acknowledging my emotions. While I would love for one day to get through a confrontation while not having rivers of tears flowing from my eyes, I am tough because I can face my emotions head on, accept them as being worthy of value, and stand up for myself.

    1. Tough people cry. There's nothing wrong with that.

  4. Holy cow I just read through your last posts and I am so sorry! I wish that I could find that old bastard in the Buick and deliver a falcon punch to his throat! I can't believe he just left! I am glad the other man helped you, it is good to know that there is SOME humanity left in the world! I hope that you heal fast and recover soon. I know for a fact that you are strong, and will get better, but I am sending good thoughts your way in the meantime. *hugs*

  5. I'm glad you're ok my dear. What a terrible accident..
    That's a weird subject for me as I tend to do things outside my comfort zone and sometimes I do them effortlessly (I even surprise myself). People think I'm so tough that sometimes when I say I feel nervous or anxious about something they give me weird looks, saying: "You?! Of all people?!.....". And it feels pretty natural for everyone to trust me with their lives or darkest thoughts and secrets. So I guess I give out a strange vibe of confidence, mixed with extreme courage. If you ask me I can honestly say I'm scared of so many things that other people find normal, you wouldn't guess. I'm particularly scared of diseases and pain in any form and death and all the big scary things out there, plus some small ones (like paying my electricity bill or crossing really big roads or going to crowded places). I'm a big introvert and the people close to me know that probably the explanation for being so "brave" is that I'm scared all the time (if that makes any sense). If I take the first step out of my house (which is the hardest part for me), it feels the same to either go shopping or exploring the north pole on an exhibition or visit the parliament. And I'm always surprised when people say how brave I am.
    p.s. - I could feel that your mommy was a tough cookie from the photos!
    p.s.2 - I'm flying to Paris this Saturday to speak to a political conference alone. I decided to get involved in local politics like 2 years ago. I'm very very anxious but everyone seems to think I'm pretty capable of pulling that of. I've been abroad twice in my life and the fact that I'll be alone in Paris on my 34th birthday makes me really nervous. But what the heck, we only live once, right?? By the way, what's your opinion? Knowing some things about my life would you think of me as tough or not?
    Sending good vibes your way! Get well soon. :)

    1. Oh gee, thanks Ally - and yet I feel like such a chicken...
      Broken ribs huh? That's ugly my friend. I hate stupid/arrogant/thoughtless drivers sooo much that I don't even have a drivers license. (see how much of a chicken I am?).
      Hugs :)

  6. I like to think I'm pretty tough. Yes, I cry at everything (and sometimes, nothing). But in my opinion, crying or expressing emotion of any kind isn't an indication of weakness. Strength, toughness, is in one's ability to get through difficult situations intact. It's the ability to get up, dust yourself off, and get back to it--whether that's riding or just getting out of bed in the midst of a severe bout of depression.

    And, since no one has taken your quiz yet :)...

    - When your brother pulls your ponytail: As a kid, probably would have punched him and tattled. As an adult, I'd probably punch him and run--he's bigger than me now :)

    - When your boyfriend forgets an important occasion: I'd confront him! Not in a mean or passive-aggressive way, but straightforward and honest.

    - When a project at school or work turns out to be harder than expected: Panic a little, then get it finished by any means necessary.

    - When your motorcycle hits 140 mph at the racetrack: This is a completely foreign concept to me. I can put myself in most of these other scenarios, but not this one. I'm guessing it'd probably be "need a change of underwear," haha!

    - When someone leaves a nasty comment on your blog: Ignore it and delete it if it really bothered me.

    - When a co-worker acts haughty or passive-aggressive: Ignore it. Ain't nobody got time for that!

    - When you fall off your motorcycle and break some ribs, how long do you wait to order new riding gear: Um, probably after I'm all healed up, or shortly before I'm healed/cleared for riding again? Again, this is a new one for me :)

  7. I am not tough. I do not scare most people. I am soft hearted and sensitive. But I am strong. I will bend but I will not break. I have quietly taken on what may be more than my fair share of adversity in life. There are people who depend on me. There are people I have held up while also trying to hold myself up. Have I been hurt in life? Yes. Do I cry? Yes. But I pick myself up again and I keep going. That is what strength is.

    Pony tail pulling- I'd have smacked him upside the head
    Forgotten anniversary- I'd pretend it was no big deal but it would be
    Project-just keep plugging away at it, maybe get some chocolate
    NOT a physical thrill seeker. Make note to buy new underwear
    I've yet to experience a nasty blog comment but dealt with them in other forums. Usually I see it as a sign of that person's problems and ignore it.
    Irritating co-worker -privately roll my eyes and ignore
    physical adversity ( metaphorical motorcycle accident )- get back on that horse...ooops mixed my metaphors- but two or three more accidents would probably make me reassess.

  8. oh I meant to edit that for nice spaces and readability. Sorry.

    1. Don't be silly -- it's a wonderful comment. Thank you.

    2. LOL-telling me not to be silly is like telling me not to like ice cream. It's just not going to work!

  9. Tough, like most characteristics, can come in a plethora of forms. One doesn't necessarily have to fight with violence or anger or instill fear into the hearts of grown men to be tough. In fact, when I think of strength, it often those who were/are calm, steadfast, strong willed, caring and peaceful that seem the strongest to me.

    ♥ Jessica

  10. haha! :D
    But fun aside - I must be strong. otherwise I would have this childhood and youth not survive .............

  11. I have to let the situation knock me, like a punch then I step back, take a breath, sometimes have a little cry then come at it fighting - I would order the leathers too, healing will happen and once you have the all-clear you are free to ride again p.s your Mum sounds like mine, 5 ft of iron x x x

  12. I like to think i am tough and for that reason, i think i am constantly being tested.

  13. I'm neither. I can be tough if I expected the situation: someone being nasty, or a trauma. Like if I drove a motorcycle (which I don't because I'm terrible in that) and get hurt due to some idiot on the road, I'll be ok with what happened to me because that's something I knew could happen. If the situation is going nowhere expected I need some time to become tough (and usually that's the moment when I sit down and cry and allow any one (anyone please) to do things for me)

  14. I didn't used to be tough, but learnt the hard way to be tough since I always had to move. But, over the years, I've had to be somewhat tough through certain situations ... I reckon, life more or less can either make you stronger or break you, to put it simply.

    1. True -- but I wish I hadn't had to learn how to become so strong.

  15. I'd squeeze the grapes, plot revenge, put laxatives in her coffee, reach for the kitchen knife and then go shopping for shoes - I'm tough, strong, opinionated and full of sass ... lol. Love your questionnaire - now go buy the new gear!

  16. Hehe, I love that your petite mom was a tough lady! Sounds like my mom :) I think I have a tough exterior but if someone has truly hurt me, I will cry about it when I'm alone.

    The Tiny Heart
    Jewelry Giveaway!

  17. I would say I'm a big baby, but actually - I think I'm pretty tough. I can throw a decent punch, I can fight dirty if need be. I've survived with mental illness untreated for 20+ years (treated for 2 now).

    I've gotten seven tattoos and broken several bones, survived surgery and wisdom teeth extractions, being homeless for a time, and being married for 6+ years. I've known ups and downs and all arounds, so honestly I think I'm pretty tough.

    1. Megan, you are, without a doubt, tough. And badass. Hollywood should make a movie about you.

  18. I'm tough when it comes to dealing with certain issues. But I'm a big cry baby when it comes to spiders. LOL! It's funny because I won't hesitate to pick up all types of creepy crawly insects and snakes. I eat raw eggs every morning, keep running after a bad fall, confront those who wrong me...and yet I freak out when I see a spider next to me.

  19. I have to say, I can probably answer this quite accurately after my experiences within the past year.

    I fight tooth and nail in fights where I know I have what is at least a 50/50 chance of winning. I've also found that I am quite creative when it comes to finding methods for survival. But when inundated with trouble I recede into the shadows and fight from a safe distance with whatever means I have - at a slower pace.

    I admire people who fit the description you've given of your mother. While I'm able to take that direction on occasion, I'm not consistently that strong ... which is something I've long wished I were able to be/do.