People say it therefore I am.
Being a strong person is a respectable quality. You are reliable and are well able.
‘Strong’ to me conjures an image of a person with a superhero costume on and puffed out chest. Invincible. Unshakeable. Confident. Certain. Powerful. Able to handle whatever life throws.
I think they have me confused with someone else.
I am the total opposite to that, my cellulite would frighten people if I wore a spandex suit. You are more likely to catch me in mismatched socks, chipped nail varnish and with clothes circa 2012 on – rather than anything the resembled powerful or unshakeable.
I am the person who worries that I talk too much, too directly,
or too aggresively. I question – Am I boring or giving my opinion too much?
I am the person who questions her abilities, her qualities and attempts to morph
into what people want, rather than just be.
But who am I? Well, I am not totally sure.
I know I used to
argumentative opinionated at school – not to be disruptive, but to be heard and understood. I had an opinion but was too immature to understand the best way to communicate it.
Am I argumentative opinionated now as a 25year old (*cough cough*) ? – well, no and not because I do not have an opinion – Quite the opposite however, life has taught me most people do not value being challenged or being questioned. In the main it irritates peoples fragile egos. In the workplace, relationships, friendships – if you remain neutral people feel comfortable. Sad but true.
As a carer I have noticed this with a lot of the professionals I come into contact with – I ask a lot of questions and have read a HUGE amount and so I tend to offer my opinion (whether they want it or not!) or question theirs a lot. Is this the type of behaviour that soldered me to the word ‘strong’? Is that what people assimilate strongness with?
Unbeknownst to most people I am very sensitive and quite often highly perceptive to reactions towards me that can often lead to me feeling hurt, overlooked, unappreciated and or forgotten. That doesn’t sound like the credentials of a strong person to me.
Perhaps it is my own definition and image of strong in my head that is wrong – After all I can’t remember ever coming across someone walking down the street wearing a cape and people screaming in delight having come across a ‘strong’ person.
In fact the strongest among us are those, I suspect, who try to remain optimistic in the face of defeat.
Who try to remain thankful when it feels like life is handing you all the worst cards. I guess to be strong is to see the beauty in some of life’s dark times. Perhaps being strong is allowing yourself to see yourself as others see you.
I do not see what I do as a mother as anything extra ordinary – after all everyone cares for their child in their own way. But herein lays slight differences to some.
I am solo Monday – Friday, guests who come by my home are more often therapists rather than friends or family. Most of my family live a couple of hours away, reducing family interaction down to sporadic visits with my busy brother and dad.
98% of my communication is digital. Human communication and connection is primarily with my daughter and as much as I love her it can lead to loneliness and mental fatigue.
The days I desperately want a hug, or reassurance that everything will be okay there is no one there. The days when someone is there to take over the cooking and cleaning to give me a break do not come. But I push through.
Therefore I have to keep mentally strong, which is tough, I have to actively try and remain positive, stretch myself beyond just my caring role. I have to keep my head up and keep in automation so that I keep moving forward. Because if I let my head drop and allow myself time to stop – I might not start again.
I am not a workaholic – far from it – but I give myself punishing schedules so that I can carve out a little time for myself so that I can blog or can go to the gym.
Every single day, I am mother, cook, cleaner, PA, Driver, legal representative, physio, speech and language and occupational therapist. All with no holidays, no pay and no renumeration package!
Doing it day-in-day-out, can exhaust me, the almost mundane repetitiveness of the battles that seem to come hand in hand with special needs are second nature now.
Yet outwardly, no one hears much of this. They just see me carrying on. Attending the meetings, asking questions, arguing for my daughter. They just see me rushing in and out flying from appointment to appointment. They don’t see me spending my Saturday afternoons ploughing through paper work. Filling in forms and reports. Cleaning bed sheets and doing yet another load of washing.
Not even her family sees the majority of this. So much so a member once referred to my weekends ‘Off’ as ‘luxurious’.
Perhaps being strong is a journey rather than a fixed destination. If so I hope I am able to complete this journey. I hope to look back in years to come and be thankful for these tough times, thankful for the quietness, thankful for the irreplaceable moments me and my daughter have shared both good and bad. I hope I am strong.
Read My Previous Confessions: