The truth is that I have been through quite a lot, and my strength is...my strength. I have pushed through fear time and time again to prove something to myself. In no way do I want to be considered a survivor or patted on the head for all of my past tragedies. I used to need that kind of attention to keep me positive and motivated. Now that feels awkward and I feel insulted. I guess because I read into it that my struggles are the only reason I am the woman I am today.
I have said this before, the strength I have is a double edge sword. I regularly put my big girl panties on and do what needs to be done, in spite of how I am feeling. But, I think people take that as I never have any feelings and I never need help or reassurance. My entire life I have been aware that the only person that will help me feel better, or stronger or happier, is me. My mother was never emotionally available. The men in my life are clumsy and too self center to see when I have emotional pain. And I don't really trust many women to have good intentions in my life. So I have learned to cry behind closed doors. And I have learned to do something nice for myself. And I found activities to do that distract me from being consumed with the details that stress me.
Sometimes I envy the woman who is able to use her weak emotional state to relieve some of her responsibilities. That doesn't last for long though. I don't really want to be in a situation where I can check out emotionally for days while I process everything. I really just want a half hour to an hour of genuine pity and concern for my well being. I recover quickly.
I think when I was younger, I had very unrealistic expectations as to how one's life is as we get older. I assumed that marriage was easy. Fall in love, get married. Done. I thought after your child turns 18, they magically become a full adult and you could just sit back and be their friend. I thought drama was left in your 20s and after that, your friendships and relationships were honest and deep. I thought that the older I got, the easier it would be to handle life stress, because I will have a lot of lessons learned and I will have mellowed greatly. I thought that the tight schedules when raising small children melt away and I would feel like I could breathe a little easier and feel more relaxed.
When I started to learn what I didn't know, it made me feel unhappy. I was let down and turned pessimistic. When does the chaos of life start to slow? When will I, or will I, feel truly appreciated and that I made a difference to my children? Will I ever be respected as a wise matriarch of this family?
Now I see that the stress I am going through today is so minor. I will not remember these times very well in 6 months from now. I am positive I will survive. I remember my blessinsg more and no longer expect that everything will come full circle anytime soon. And I laugh, and dance, and love as hard as I can. Those are my survival techniques.
"What people in the world think of you is really none of your business.”
― Martha Graham