For most of my life, I’ve felt pressure to be strong for others. For my friends, for my family, for partners I’ve had – anyone. I’ve always had to be the rock they could lean on.
People have always expected me to be there for them. Whenever they need help, I am the one they lean on. Empathy, advice, and reassurance are the things that people have come to know me (and in the end, rely on me) for.
I’ve always felt the weight of other people’s expectations on my shoulders. I’ve carried their burdens for so long that I’ve found I’ve left nothing for myself.
Nobody ever reaches out to me. Nobody makes sure that I’m okay. I have to be my own rock, as well as other people’s.
People take, and they take, and they take. They use me when they need me, they thank me for being a good friend, and then they leave. I’m lucky to even have someone ask me how I am.
Sometimes I think about how sad my lot in life is. I think about the fact that I am strong for others means that no one ever feels the need to be strong for me. Sometimes it makes me cry.
I’m expected to be okay. I’m expected to keep my sh*t together. If I ever opened up to people about how I felt, I doubt that they’d even know what to say. It’s like people don’t even consider the fact that inside I could be anything other than perfectly fine.
Well, I’m not.
I’m tired. I’m worn out. I’m fed up of being the ‘strong’ one. I’m done with being used.
I need to learn to be there for myself before I’m there for anyone else. I need to put myself first before I use my precious strength for other people. I need to be strong for my own sake.
I feel far more than I let on. The waves of life rock me every time they hit me, no matter how much I may seem to stand firm in front of them. Every single one sends me reeling. Every one has me wondering just how much more of this I can take.
But I will be okay. I know I will. I will learn to do for myself what I’ve always been able to do for other people. I will learn to carry my own burden. I’ll become strong for myself.
I could easily allow myself to dwell in my misery. I could torment myself with the knowledge that no one has picked up on how exhausting I find my role in life. I could torture myself thinking about how no one is ever there for me. But I won’t.
I’m going to turn over a new leaf. I’m going to stop giving people the things they’ve come to take me for granted for. I’m going to spend that energy on myself, and only give it out to the people who deserve it. The people who will give me the same thing in return.
Not out of spite, not out of revenge, but because I need to. Because I have to.
Because I’m done with being expected to be strong.