I like that saying: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”(WDKYMYS). It sounds good, it’s inspirational. It makes you think “Heck, things were tough/awful/soul destroying – but I’m still here!!”
People have appropriated that saying into songs (looking at you Kelly Clarkson), put it on T-shirts, tattooed it on their bodies, put it over pictures of sunsets and posted it on each others walls when their friends have been dumped by jerk’s named Derrick (fuck you Derrick you meanie!)
I like the expression, but I don’t know if I always agree with it.
Because sometimes things kill you a little bit inside and they make you feel weaker, they throw off your game.
Was Leo’s character stronger at the end of the Revenant after he got fucked up by a bear, watched his son get murdered, was left for dead and then had to crawl through the snow and shit of 1800’s Canada to Murder my future ex-husband/baby-daddy Tom Hardy’s character? (Oh yeah, spoiler alert… but seriously if you haven’t seen that movie yet get your shit together – it was nominated for and lost best picture like 5 months ago).
I mean…I guess he was stronger – like how calluses get stronger on the tops of your feet. But he was also weaker because he had lost his humanity, and he was a murderer murderer and he was gross (like a callus – see how I tied all that together? Yay Creative Writing Masters degree)
I wonder if people use WDKYMYS as a way to excuse awful situations they don’t know how to extricate themselves from?
I’d consider myself a strong person who has faced some challenges. Would I exchange them for an easy life where some of the shitty things didn’t happen to me? Yes of course! I’m not insane. Faced with two choices: an easy road and a hard, bush-basher of a path, I think most of us would choose the easy option.
But life doesn’t work like that, and there are plenty of things that will try to throw you off the plans you’ve made, a death in the family, a financial set-back, a painful divorce, an unexpected illness.
So I propose a re-word. “What doesn’t kill you makes you different” – because not all things make you stronger, and thats okay too.
You are not a failure if you come out of a near-death-esque experience and think: “well that fucking sucked” and you’re not stronger.
End of Thought.