I’m Tired of Being Strong

The past 5 years of my life have been…interesting to say the least. If you would have told Elizabeth of 2017 that she would be where she is now, I may have just ran away forever (I’m joking but also dead serious).

2017 ended like a fairytale; freshly engaged to my high school sweetheart, one year out from graduation, a wonderful internship opportunity lined up, loving supportive family, and a job that I loved.

2018 hit me like a truck, health issues that caused me to drop out of school, quit my job, and miss out on that fabulous internship opportunity. But I stayed the course and held my head high. I still had a wonderful family and fiancé, and life could still be good.

2019 and 2020 felt the same, struggling physically and mentally, but now married. Through losses of family members, a global pandemic, and adjusting to married life, I kept the faith and focused on the positive.

2021 started and I felt good, optimistic even. My health was improving rapidly, I was back in school, and had been working a job I enjoyed, even if it wasn’t in my field of education.

Then February came, when my husband simply approached me in our house out of the blue and told me he wanted a divorce. 2021 was a dumpster fire of navigating separation, divorce, unkind treatment from those I used to trust the most, more death in the family, selling my dream home, and moving into a new home all by myself and our three animals.

Yet, I stayed positive. It was rare for anyone to see me cry, even my own family. I kept dancing in the kitchen while making dinner. I sang in the shower. I opened up to new friendships and tried to see the positive in all the changes that were happening.

2022 started quietly, in the grief of all the firsts without my ex-husband and in-laws, more death in my family, and intense work in therapy to overcome the trauma of the past few years. Now, 5 months into 2022, and in one weekend I finished my degree, and had to put my beloved 2 year old pup to sleep. What was 5 was now only 3 in our family.

This is where I lost my mind a bit. I have heard so many times over the past few years, “This all just shows how strong you are, how resilient you are”, or “You will be a much better person and grow so much from these years”.

I hate it.

I know I am growing in these trials. Me of a year ago would be amazed at my personal strength and ability to stay happy throughout everything I have been through.

But goodness. Just for once, I don’t want to have to be strong. I don’t want to be resilient. I don’t want to have to roll with the punches. I don’t want to have to be intentional about making myself happy and focusing on my blessings.

I want life to be easier. I want to be able to relate to my other friends in their young 20’s who don’t seem to have half of the struggles I have or have had. I want to erase the pain of the multitude of losses I have experienced in these past years. But I can’t.

And man sometimes I wish someone would just hug me tight and say it’s not okay. That I don’t have to be strong right now. Have a few days to not get out of bed or be the only person who can care for my house and my animals. To not worry about finances. To have the time to fully process the magnitude of loss. To sit and accept that I am tired.

So the next time that you know someone who is going through a lot of pain in their life. If you are tempted to tell them they will grow from it, or that they are so strong. Maybe consider asking them if they want to feel strong in this moment. I would bet that a lot of times, they just want a soft place to land, and space to be weak.

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