Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sick of Strength

I've heard variations of the "Strength" platitude over and over - "You've got to stay strong," or "You're so strong." These are always from individuals who have someone to lean on. Easy to say this stuff when you can crash every once in awhile and let someone else carry the load.

I'm not strong. Just because I've handled a lot of hardship doesn't make me stronger than others. I've just had to deal with a larger share of problems. Believe me, if I could, I would not be handling all this. I do it because I have to and I do it alone because I don't have a choice.

There is this stupid belief out there that strength builds character and we become better for having survived hardship. I don't believe this anymore. In fact, I don't believe any of those platitudes we've been raised on anymore. As time goes on, or at least now, I find the constant strength in having to rise to every occasion solo, is just draining me and leaving me more bitter. Forget about becoming wiser and stronger. Here is a quote by the businessman J.C. Penney that illustrates this:

"I am grateful for all of my problems.
After each one was overcome,
I became stronger and more able to meet those that were still to come.
I grew in all my difficulties."

Well, I've reached the point where I'm not feeling very grateful for my problems. And I've reached the point where I don't want to meet anymore. I don't like this life and I don't want to be living it as it is panning out anymore. I read all these inspirational quotes where I should greet each day, even the hard ones, with joy in my heart and gratefulness for being here and all of that. But if I were to say that I thought that, I'd be lying.

Feeling very, very weary and drained. Got through the debacle with the van being towed and its flat tire and all only to face a week later, another flat tire. Then some tickets for failure to not have a city vehicle sticker (which I didn't know we needed). And so it goes... More to face and handle. More energy that gets chipped away from my heart and soul.

My son received acceptances into two of the five colleges he applied at. Receiving those letters with the "Congratulations on your acceptance..." took a little bit of the sting away from the bad news that happened.

I'm tired of being strong. It is okay to be weak. In a marriage or partnership or close family there are opportunities to sometimes let others carry the load. I think I've reached my limit. I feel my back finally breaking.

I'll get up tomorrow and do the stuff of living I have to do. But it is like going through the motions. It is easy to be positive and motivated when things are going well. Seems impossible now to feel joy when there is so much discouragement and my spirit is sagging. My strength is tapped out.

As I write these feelings out, I realize that along with the stupid platitudes, there comes the guilt for not being able to be strong. Because when people tell you to keep on being strong, it is expected that you'll keep your chin up and do just that. Where are the platitudes for failing gracefully or not being able to keep up? Platitudes aren't realistic. What is real, is the realization that people will sometimes fail and fall. I want a platitude that gives me permission to feel the honest feelings I'm having about discouragement, exhaustion, bitterness and weakness. I need a platitude that gives me some direction on what to do when too much strength has actually ended up making me weak.


  1. I couldn't agree more!!! People use to say those things to me about how strong I was--piffle--they only saw what they wanted to see. Some days I barely keep it together and just want to scream or throw a chair through a window or sit and cry. These dang problems that we somehow get through, don't make us stronger--they just make us tired and weary and many times, very, very angry!

  2. Judy - You said in three sentences what my post dragged on about. Liked the image of a chair being thrown out the window. Just wish we lived in a more realistic society where platitudes weren't so freely thrown around. Life has its ups and downs and I'm in a down. Riding in out is a real, real drag. It can get so hard.

  3. It's always easy to assume someone is strong, but you have no idea what goes on inside.

    I don't know if you got my email about the book on widowhood I'm co-editing. I'd love for you to submit something...anyone else as well. Go to and check out their Call for Submissions. The widows I know on line have a lot to teach others in the same situation.

  4. You have said it for me. God bless us as we struggle to continue....

  5. Matthew 5:3 ...first thing out of Jesus' mouth...Blessed are the poor in spirit...

    somewhere in Isiah or Job...God searched the heavens... but there was none to with His own right arm He brought salvation...

    even King David knew God didn't want his sacrifices... only and broken and contrite spirit...

    most of the time I'd rather hear someone agree with my frustration , then you know they've walked in your shoes!!! permission granted...