I once told a good friend of mine who has five children, two with infantile spasms, I thought (still think) she is an amazing woman! I praised her because her journey with Epilepsy has been much harder than mine and yet every time I see her she seems to have it so together; she’s always had such a strong faith and just an air of strength about her. It wasn’t until she sent me a heartfelt letter laying out all the truths and fears she had and would face in her lifetime that I understood we weren’t so different! We actually shared a lot of the same insecurities and fears, she was just a little better at hiding it on the outside than I and truth be told that letter only made me respect and love her all the more!
Let me be the first to say I have insecurities, I definitely have fears and I’ve become an expert at the what if… game! There are times I’ve doubted my strength and felt as though my faith was broken. I’ve had moments where I’ve felt I needed much more than I’ve supported my family and friends. I’ve been hurt by a person’s insensitive comment and resisted the urge to tell them exactly what I thought and instead tried to reason with and educate them. I’m all to familiar with that sucker punch in the gut, where you feel helpless, can’t catch your breath and all you can do is cry, because it’s the only thing you have left in that moment! However, I’ve also come to understand it’s during these moments, after that release, we’re able to pick ourselves up, dust off and draw strength from places we didn’t even know existed! We see our child’s smile, the comfort they find in us, their innocence and realize we have to keep moving forward no matter how difficult it might seem, because they need us and simply put we love them!
I always envied how strong I thought my friend was, but I now understand her need to make everything look okay on the outside. Without trying to sound to much like Lady Gaga, I have come to appreciate that we all have a poker face of sorts, not necessarily because we want to, but sometimes because we have to! The alternative would be to bare our souls and share how vulnerable we really are! I wonder though, is that such a bad thing? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we should walk around with a dark cloud over head, telling every stranger we meet all our life afflictions! But when and if we decided to share our true emotions with someone in similar circumstances, I think it will enable us to connect and empower each other to become stronger, because we’ll realize all those insecurities and fears we’ve been feeling aren’t a lack of strength at all, in fact they’re quite normal!