Skip to main content

Replies sorted oldest to newest

Originally posted by Nykkii:

ricardo--can you give examples of what makes your wife "strong"?

My wife is from Cauca, Colombia. She has lots of stories about her childhood growing up in the mountains of Cauca. Some day I want to visit, to see the path that her and her 4 brothers and 2 sisters would walk down to the valley to get water to carry up the mountain to their home. Or the long frail suspension foot bridge that she would cross to bring food home. (Both were day long expeditions.) Or the river (Rio Cauca?) that she nearly drowned in when she was 5 or 6, having been carried quite some distance by the raging currents. Unfortunately, due to the conflict, travel there is impossible at this time.

When she was young (about 11 or 12), they had to flee Cauca, in the process losing their home, and were able to borrow enough money from a relative for the bus trip to Palmira, close to Cali. For reasons that I can't go into here, her mother was unable to work after that, so my wife and her older sister, being the oldest, worked to support the family. She worked at many jobs, cleaning houses, caring for other children not much younger than herself, etc.

In 1989, she was working as a maid for the neice of another woman that she had worked for previously. She had been accepted to graduate school here at the university, so her and her husband came here with their two small children, and asked my wife if she wanted to come along. They got my wife a Domestic Employee Visa, and she basically raised the two children while her friend went to school, while at the same time working part time (illegally) cleaning a resturaunt (She would bring the kids along when she worked). When her friend graduated, my wife applied for a Visa extension, but it was denied by the INS.

My wife stayed anyway (illegally), dispite the fact that she didn't know any english, and found herself alone in Ames. Working at several jobs, cleaning houses, washing dishes, cooking, and cleaning resturaunts, she saved enough money to buy her family a house in Colombia.

In the meantime, she learned english, not from taking any classes, but solely by listening to people talk.

By the time that I met her, her english was quite good. She almost had the house in Colombia paid for, and was close to leaving the US for good, to return to Colombia.

I found her just in the nick of time! Heart

"La vida te da sorpresas...
Sorpresas te da la vida...,
¡Ay, Dios!"

   Rubén Blades---Pedro Navaja   

Plowshares Actions
The Nuclear Resister
School of the Americas Watch

Cauca, Colombia

to me a woman's strength can come in many varieties.

physical strength--keeping her body toned and in shape, being conscious of what she put in it and how she take care of herself.

courageous strength--ricardo's wife is an example of this-being in a foreign country but finding a way to earn money, learn the language and take care of herself and her family. i have a personal example of this as well, when i chose to leave my marriage--it took amazing courage to step out on my own.

mental strength--exercising that big muscle called our brain by learning and exposing ourselves to as much as we can. we also develop mental strength by learning how to avoid situations in which we could be taken advantage of.

strength of heart--she is able to deal with heartbreak and heartache but doesn't allow it take over her life.

strength of self--independent, but always there for those who are are held close. secure in her definition of self, hard to manipulate with things that she knows are not her. she also encourages those close to her to maintain a sense of independence. she does not look to others to for her own happiness. people are allowed in her life as a compliment to who she is, and what she can bring to them.

strength of character--a woman of her word and her actions always speak louder than what she says. she stands up for what she believes.

as keylargo mentioned--strength is not all encompassing. we can be strong on many levels, but have insecurities, issues, faults in other areas of our lives.

to be strong does not mean you cannot also be shy, quiet, conservative or reserved.

overall, i think it means you have a very good understanding of yourself and of what you will and will not accept in your life.

This really puts things in perspective. I just think that the "strong black woman" type has caught a bad rap if you know what I mean. I'm thinking of the strong independent type that supposedly don't need a man. The kind that men are intimidated by if you know what I mean. So, to me the strong black woman that is often a stereotype doesn't really assist. She's just a woman who can take care of herself but still likes having a man around just like any other woman of any race.
ladies-- Smile

i think what has happened is that a positive, uplifting term was taken and changed on us. it has (like you both -keylargo and negrospiritual-have said) become this stereotypical negative image of a woman who doesn't need anything from anyone.

there is nothing wrong with being STRONG, with being HUMBLE, with being SMART, with knowing who you are and what you want.

to say that we're INDEPENDENT gets almost the same reaction, which it shouldn't. we can be all of those things, and need love and affection like anyone else...

Your wife's life is very inspiring. She is a strong woman; a role model for other women, because life can be so hard for some people, women in particular. It is so uplifting to hear of someone, an actual person that is a living reminder that we can do anything; that we are capable of so much more than we sometimes believe. Given her two different points of view (life in America, in her home country), what is her philosophy on life, expectations and disappointments?
I have to agree with Nykkii, there are certain degrees of strength.

My wife developed breast cancer at the fourth month of her pregnancy. She was told to abort the baby because they couldn't treat the cancer with her being pregnant. She flat out refused. They told her she could die before the baby was even born because the cancer fed off of the estrogen that her body was producing for the baby. As the baby got bigger and required more estrogen, the bigger the cancer got because of the estrogen.

She kept saying this was happening for a reason and was determined to give birth. When the baby was born, on Christmas day mind you, they were able to treat her but by then it was too late. She had stage 4 cancer ( TERMINAL ) and there was nothing they could do. Breast cancer comes in four stages, you can survive in one of the three first stages but at stage four, forget it. Its gone too far.

They gave her three months, she lasted three years. But even though she was going through her thing, she would come home crying sometimes after going to the chemo/radiation treatment from seeing people who were in a worst situation than she was in.

We lived her final years to the hilt. Did the family thing, me, her and our daughter, as much as we could. We spent a week at Disney World and rode that African Safari tour. One week later, she died in her sleep.

Been me and my six year old daughter for three years now.

[This message was edited by darkbuck on September 11, 2003 at 04:39 PM.]
The term 'Strong Black Woman?" It of course, has taken on negative connotations but the fact is, we are women who have to be strong as our world status is bottom rung thanks to sorry, trifling, black male enemies who originally sold out the black woman, and their descendants who seek to keep the black woman oppressed and sorely violated.

As a result, we've had to be strong. You know the Bible mentions 'wearing ones' armor' always. Well, RIGHTEOUS, ENLIGHTENED black women are exhibit A, that that is what a strong woman must do to survive amidst our enemies within and without. As so, we are seen as 'hard', and where we'd love to be prominent and of Nubian civilizations status, we and our men together controlling the world, we can't because we are at war with the african father and his sons and daughters who thrust us into the circumstances that are upon us.

We are therefore, 'warriors' fighting for our exaltation and may God bless our efforts with triumphant success. That makes 'a strong black woman' a 'goddess, and a warring one at that.'
Strong Black Woman:

Lover and fighter.

Strong enough to know when it's okay to be weak.

Strong enough to know when she has to show her strength.


Willing to help. Willing to be helped.


Proud, but not narcissistic.


Neither completely selfless or self-centered.

Doesn't feel like she always has to front.

Praising and praiseworthy.
Knows her way around the kitchen

Not afraid to cut the lawn when I am playing video games

Knows to make sure my orange juice is free of pits

Has not been to college or any fancy ass university

Holds the door open for her man

Does all the long distance driving

Cooks as soon as she gets home from work

Capable of having at least six children, no more than 10 months apart

Doesn't say any more than 25 words during the week, and / or 10 words during the football game

Stays on her side of the bed unless told to do otherwise

Gives me her paycheck if she is paid more than me

Never corrects me in public or private

Just having a little fun with you!

I love the strength in all of African / Black women who post here.

Add Reply

Link copied to your clipboard.