Is a strong character bestowed at birth? Learned through experiences? Or acquired by choice?
To some extent we are born a certain way. And it is true that we can only develop character if we so choose. However, without having lived a certain life, it can be very difficult to develop real mental and emotional strength and maturity. Men are made from boys and women from girls through the fires of pain, the weight of struggle, and the sting of loss.
You aren’t a man until you’ve felt the repeated battery of rejection crash against your sense of self-worth.
You aren’t a woman until you’ve forced yourself through week after exhausting week, trying your best to improve your life, only to feel it worsen instead.
You aren’t a man until you’ve reach the end of your means, have no clue how you’re going to pay the rent next month, and can’t even get to sleep because of it.
You aren’t a woman until you have loved, given your everything, promised your life over to the dream of a life shared with another, only to lose it all in the cruelest way possible.
You aren’t a complete adult with character until you’ve had dreams and lost them, tried everything and nothing worked, loved and lost. You aren’t a man or woman until you’ve hated yourself with all your strength, despaired to the point of losing all hope of even being able to hope again, pushed yourself well past the point of breaking for longer than any human should be able to endure…. and emerged from the ordeal not weaker, but stronger.
Gender differences can be bridged, cultures can be understood, and languages can be learned… but the chasm that separates the owner of a life of privilege and the victorious former denizen of Hell itself cannot be traversed.