Hey! It’s me, your strong friend (child, sibling, coworker, neighbor). Sorry I didn’t get back to you yesterday (last week, last month, six months ago). I’ve been (really busy, dealing with a lot) struggling honestly. Wait, that part wasn’t meant to be out loud. Well I guess we’re doing the honesty thing huh? Ok, here goes.
Sometimes, ok a lot of the time, I struggle. But I don’t want you to know when things are hard. Well, that’s not true. I feel like I’m not supposed to show when I’m struggling. Because I am the strong friend. I’m the one people come to when they’re struggling, the problem solver, the shoulder to cry on.
But can I tell you a secret as your strong friend? Sometimes it feels like all I do is struggle, never making progress, never moving forward. Objectively I know that’s not true; progress is hard to measure and it’s not always obvious it’s being made. Regardless, instead of reaching out when I feel stuck, I hide.
I convince myself hiding and struggling is a better option than reaching out. If I don’t reach out I can’t disappoint myself and the person helping me when (not if) I can’t do what they suggest. Also, because I’ve withdrawn so much, that person likely has no metric of what I’m currently capable of. So that thing they suggest in good faith might genuinely be Mount Everest to me. But being honest about my current capabilities is also something of a Mount Everest, so I withdraw further.
Are you getting the picture? That’s right, I’m a disaster. And you call me your strong friend. No wait I did that. Why did I do that? That’s clearly not me.
It’s probably you though. If you’re my friend, I know it’s you. And if we’re not friends you’re probably still fantastic, smart, funny and a million other wonderful things. Because we’re all made up of lots of different parts. We’re our passions and our fears and even our struggles.
Sometimes our struggles may overwhelm the rest. That’s ok, it won’t last forever. Take the time you need to become whoever you’re becoming. Lean into the awkward and the uncomfortable. Embrace the you that’s trying to be. And never forget there are people out there ready to catch your hand when you reach out, like me, your (sometimes) strong friend.