I Wish I Was Stronger

You are as strong as you want to be.

I was panicking when I first read these words. Sitting in my in-laws’ kitchen, trying to get a hold of myself so I could rejoin my family in the hell we were facing. I remember reading these words, sent to me by a friend in response to my plea for help and my desperate wish to be stronger so I could deal with this. ‘You are as strong as you want to be.’

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I remember when I first read these words I was taken aback, almost annoyed. I remember thinking; if it was up to me I would not feel like this, I wouldn’t be struggling, I’d be stronger and not paralyzed in this fear and sickness. I wouldn’t be letting my panic stop me from being the person I need to be. If I could be stronger, I would be. It’s not that easy.

Now, if this had been some quote I found perusing Pinterest I might have been quicker to dismiss it; but this was written to me from a friend who I wholeheartedly respect, trust, and love. I sat with those words until the message picked through the layers of ego and helplessness that stood as defenses. I took it in and understood. And no, it’s not that easy. But it is that simple.

I got up and walked into the empty living room. I stood there in the dark, power posing, repeating this to myself. You are as strong as you want to be. And then I walked down the hall toward my family and never looked back.

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It’s a statement that feels impossible and unrealistic. There’s a huge resistance to actually accept it – especially when we are feeling weak and struggling. And yet, in its truth is an immense power, a liberation. I didn’t have to be someone else, or get anywhere. I didn’t have to wish I was stronger. I didn’t have to worry that I wouldn’t be strong enough. If I wanted to be stronger, I just had to go ahead and be stronger. It’s up to me.

And then again, it’s up to me. Those words sting like a bitch when you feel stuck in pity or panic or depression or grief. Even when you feel weak, even when you don’t deserve it, even when you absolutely hate and resent that you are in the situation that’s requiring you to be strong – it’s still up to you to do it. To be strong and persevere. To do the hard. To do the impossible. It’s 100% up to you.

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Accepting those words allowed me to get through one of the hardest experiences of my life as exactly the person I wanted to be through it. I was present for every moment and was able to be so much stronger than I ever imagined I could have been. It was still excruciating and my anxiety didn’t go away – but I was strong. Because I wanted to be. Because I chose to be.

You are as strong as you want to be.

8 thoughts on “I Wish I Was Stronger”

  1. I love and also not love this message–I am as strong as I want to be. There is some relief in your message as in a message of hope and there is a lot of room for evaluationwhen I choose not to be as strong as I am capable of. So….moving from evaluation to feedback brings it full circle to choice to be as stong as I want to be. Thank you for your powerful words!

  2. What a great post! The biggest obstacle I see to people moving forward is refusing to be accountable for their own lives and taking back the pen to write the story THEY want to write. Thank you for having the courage to take back your pen and sharing your story.

  3. You are amazing…truly. The experience you went through was one of the hardest things in life to go through…..especially under the circumstances but you didn’t just get through it…..you and the rest of the family did him proud and lived…truly lived during that time when most would crumble and hide. In doing so you carried on a legacy that we all can learn from….when life throws you a shitty hand you don’t ever cash out…you continue to play until the game is over and do it with those you love around you…and possibly a shot or two of R&R. Thank you for being so incredibly wonderful to those that I love and thank you for your strength for you inspired the rest of us in an impossibly difficult time to keep on living. Never doubt your strength dear friend…..Love ya

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