“She’s strong, but she’s exhausted.” ~ r.h. sin
I’m tired, but even that is too casual, too shallow of a description for the weariness that lies in my bones.
I’m exhausted from being strong, from acting like I have it all together, and from being everything to everyone.
I never particularly set out to be this kind of woman, yet it seems through the bitter choices and the sweet idealizations of not wanting to let anyone down, I found myself worn-out and lost, wondering if someday someone would be there for me in all the ways I have been there for them.
Perhaps it happened by mistake, because the biggest irony is that when others look at me they see me as strong. They see me as competent and able, but inside I would never label myself with those qualities because—while they see me surefooted and steady—inside I am shaking.
I tried, I really did. Every morning, despite my exhaustion, I still do.
Even when my shoulders slump, and my eyes become clouded from tears of feeling things too deeply, I breathe in and tell myself that it will all be okay—whether I feel like that or not.
I suppose I’ve been trying to be strong since before I realized what women like me were called, or that we had our own genre: The strong, independent, self-sufficient woman. It sounds nice, doesn’t it? And I guess when we are told that’s what we should become, then it’s no surprise that we manifest those qualities.
But, the problem with being this over-simplified definition of a woman? The world actually believes us.
I haven’t met one of these goddesses who, although many would describe her as such, doesn’t also long for help, for guidance, for leadership, for someone to just fall against at the end of the day. Someone she can rely on, knowing that she doesn’t have to be anything other than her beautiful self.
The truth is we can sit here with our glasses of pinot grigio saying we don’t need a man, or a warrior, but the reality is we wouldn’t be saying that if we weren’t trying to convince ourselves of that fact.
The lesson we all can learn is that there is no shame in needing someone. There is no fault in saying: “I can’t do this life thing all on my own.” There is nothing wrong with thinking that two strong hearts are better than one.
I’m so tired. I’m tired of living up to this ideal. More than that—I’m simply tired of being strong.
I long to be taken care of, not financially, for that sort of thing has never turned my head for very long, but I want a strong arm around my shoulders, someone who can hold me down, no matter the storm I endured that day.
I’m done with pretending anything. I’m done with pretending that I am so formidable.
I’m simply done with being strong when the reality is, more often than not, I feel like I’m not being myself—playing a charade of feminism.
That’s not to downplay who we are and what we deserve as women, but there’s also something to be said for embracing who we are and what feels the most natural for us. There’s something to be said for being soft.
These words are those that I ran from for so long because it seemed they had a negative connotation. After all, I was supposed to aspire to lead the ranks and smash the glass ceiling, right? It wasn’t supposed to be enough for me in this life to simply love and be loved.
And so I spun my own misery by successfully pretending that I was strong. Everyone eventually believed me. When that began to happen a sore opened inside my heart with the devastating knowledge that I could only fake it for so long.
I give up.
Not because I have failed, but because I have learned. Can I do anything, or be anyone that I need to in that moment? Yes—but does that mean I am meant to? No. I can’t do it all. At this point I am done trying.
I am done being this infallible woman who seems to be able to do anything, and whether it’s in the workplace, with family or friends, even my role as a mother—I just can’t do it any longer.
I can’t pretend that I have this ability to do it all, and not just that, but with a smile on my face. I can’t pretend I don’t need anyone to help me—that’s all I want.
Life isn’t about faking it until we make it, it’s about letting ourselves be real with what we need and want and then being willing to bleed for it.
It’s about feeling rather than thinking, and it’s about simply giving in to the passions within our hearts, and the softness of arms that feel like home. Without those things, what is the point of any of this, if it’s not to need another?
Perhaps as more time passes I’m becoming immune to being someone that others only want to see, or maybe the reality is that I’ve never been good at that. But, it seems that I’ve just grown exhausted from pretending that I am this strong.
It’s not that I am weak, but sometimes, it’s those of us that are the strongest, that end up needing someone the most.
I’m seeing that’s where I am now.
Don’t we all need someone who’s just a little bit stronger than we are? Someone who can kiss it where it hurts and hug us like nothing else matters.
Someone who can remind us that we don’t really need to be that strong—all the time.
Author: Kate Rose
Image: Sarah Diniz Outeiro/Unsplash
Editor: Lieselle Davidson