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I Used To Be Strong

"Pain is weakness leaving the body." 
   I used to repeat that to myself on a constant loop as a teen. Hours of grueling manual labor on my family's dairy farm each day starting at 4:30am, plus hours of training for sports- miles of hills run on country dirt roads so I was never far from the next round of barn chores, plus ladders, drills, and scrimmages for 2 hours of formal practice during basketball season, open gyms, summer league, and team camps in the off season. I was usually the tallest, but always the toughest, strongest, and most determined. Always the strongest. The boys asked to come work on the farm to be strong like me. Always the strongest. 
   Through college and early motherhood I kept running, kept training, stayed strong. As life's curveballs piled up- desperate financial straits requiring I work 3 jobs at a time to barely scrape by, then a special needs baby who literally never slept and screamed for hours on a good day, the dark pit of postpartum d…

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