I've been asked many times, "How do you stay so strong?" Or, "How do you keep on fighting?" And I can never give a straight answer. It wasn't something I was ever taught, no one gave me directions to follow to become this way, I just am this way. It's all I've ever known how to be. Fighting and staying strong have been the only options I have been given in my life- giving up has just never been part of my vocabulary.
On Monday I made my way down to the finish line of the Boston Marathon to watch as the runners came through. My heart skipped a few beats as I read the beautiful poster boards waving in the air, supporting each runner as they passed by. I was overcome with this sense of pride. I love my city, and I mean, I really love my city. Then it hit me, I am strong because of where I come from, I am Boston Strong. Those runners using all of their might to reach that finish line, thats Boston Strong. The heroes with missing limbs, inspiring as they ran by, thats Boston Strong. The people screaming and roaring on the sidelines, thats Boston Strong. The connection and unity you felt with random passerby's, thats Boston Strong. That saying rings true for all of us. When the term Boston Strong first came about, it spread like wildfire- but the thing is, we have always been strong, now we just have a saying to explain that strength.
I am the way I am because of the city I grew up in. I am strong because the people of Boston give you no other choice then to be strong. This community of people do not accept defeat- hey just look at our sports teams. They tell you to stand up and "get the hell over it." They force you to keep pushing. We can at times come off rude to outsiders, but the passion that runs through our veins is undeniable.
Living in Alabama for a period of time, I stuck out like a sore thumb... Maybe it was because of the thick accent that came about after a few drinks, or maybe it's the spit fire in me that most southern belles weren't use to seeing. Or it could possibly be due to my whole, don't try and talk to me about your cities sports when I come from the best sports city in the US (I never said we weren't arrogant at times). A lot of people thought I was intimidating, that I hated them just because of how I came off...and I think a lot of Bostonians can relate to that. We have a tendency to come off as "smug," but regardless of how we come off, we are the way we are because we know what we believe in, we know what we care about, and never feel the need to put on a front to be accepted. We are filled with pride and resilience, and we will fight until the death to support the people we love and the city that we love. And if that causes us to come off "tough," so be it. We have that, you hurt one of us, you hurt all of us, type of attitude. This strength didn't just appear because of last years bombings, no, our strength has always been there... It was just amplified in the face of tragedy. Our at times, cold demeanor, can never overshadow the burning passion that fills us.
Let me ask you, where is Brad Pitt's hometown? Or how about George Clooney? What about Denzel Washington? You don't know? Okay, then let me switch it up... Where is Ben Affleck from? Or Matt Damon? How about Mark Wahlberg? I bet you could answer those.. That's what makes Boston different, peculiar some may say, we carry our city with us wherever we go.