I’m a happy person, mostly. I’m cheerful, and bubbly, and fun, and I strive every single day to allow God to use me to emanate His light. I speak in ideals. I contend to inspire assurance and optimism in every single person that crosses my path. I believe in abundance, and karma, and the laws of attraction. I work effortlessly to keep these ideals at the forefront of my lifestyle.
But the fact of the matter is, at the end of the day, I’m no superwoman. I’m just another mere mortal, striving to achieve greatness before my time is up on this planet. I still feel worry, I still feel fear, I still feel angst and loneliness and distress. I still sometimes have doubts, in spite of my faith. I still get depressed. I still need assurance and love from others. I still seek approval. I still wonder where my life is going. I still wonder if I should quit, or if my dreams will ever really be real in spite of all that God has shown and given to me.
In spite of all the people I know, I still feel completely alone. And mostly, I’m okay with that. But on days like this, I just wish I had someone to hold me and tell me that everything is going to be alright, the way a mother holds her daughter after her heart’s been broken for the first time. I just wish I didn’t have to be the glue holding my fragile pieces together, while simultaneously trying to flash about this facade of robust stability and strength. I’ve always been the one to figure it out, so I just figure it out and chalk it up as a part of life. But I don’t want to figure it out anymore. At least not right now. I don’t want that responsibility. Not today.
I remember when I was ten years old, my father was very ill and dying from lung cancer. My siblings and I were in foster care at the time, and hadn’t seen him in a while, mostly because he’d suffered from alcoholism, and extreme guilt-ridden depression. My mother fought with our foster care agency so we could see our father. It was his dying wish. And when I’d heard we were going to get to see him, I was so excited and happy and elated. I was such a daddy’s girl. I still am. =)
We get to the hospital, and I have this huge smile plastered on my face. I’m finally going to get to run and jump into my fathers arms and hug him into oblivion. But instead, I run into his room, see him, and instantly start to cry. I had never seen my father in such a way before.
He was in a hospital bed, completely bald, and I could see his bones through his skin. He was pale, and had wires and and IV’s all over his body. Heart monitors and respirators were humming away tirelessly, and my father looked so weak and frail. My father was a strong, athletic man, and suddenly all of his strength seemed to be gone. I was distraught. Almost immediately my mother and my case worker pulled me into another room, and encouraged me to gain my composure. “You’re the oldest”, they told me. “You have to be strong, because your brothers and sister look up to you, and if you’re sad, they’ll be sad too”. So I stayed in the room for a little bit, I wiped the tears from my eyes, and I pulled myself together. I put a smile back on my face, walked into that hospital room, and hugged my daddy into oblivion as best I could.
At 24, I realize now how much that moment has shaped and molded me. Fourteen years later, I still find myself pretending to be okay and facing my pain, in spite of the fact that inside, I could die. And in hindsight, the lesson is bittersweet. That learned strength has been helpful to me throughout my life. The ability to paint that facade at will has been an invaluable asset to me. It’s pushed and driven me to be fearless and courageous, even when I wanted to give up. But now I’m exhausted, and I just want to lay down my sword and my shield and rest.
However, in spite of my exhaustion, and in spite of me not wanting the responsibility of being strong, I remember one thing. My father was frail, and bed ridden, and in agonizing pain, but when he saw us, he smiled. His eyes were so bright with joy, that even though he could barely talk, you knew he was elated. He fought for us to have that moment, in spite of all the emotional hell and physical pain he was experiencing. And I pray that when he passed away, he didn’t feel like he’d failed us, because he was a mere moral striving to achieve greatness, who’d temporarily given in to his fear, and his angst, and his loneliness, and his humanness.
And that’s why even when I feel like giving up, I force myself to keep going. I force myself to push through in order to WIN. I focus on nothing but success, because in that bittersweet moment, my daddy was my superhero. Though we were both in pain, he genuinely smiled for me, even when I couldn’t for him.