I see you.
I know how when your tears come, you’re trying to stop them. Because you don’t cry. Shouldn’t cry. No.
People like you are not supposed to cry, and if they do, it must be measured crying, sensibly proportionate to the established threshold for the number of tears matching the perceived amount of distress.
I know how you try to hide that you too sometimes flicker and fade.
Hide because you’re supposed to be on top of the world no matter what happens, because that’s who everyone expects you to be. Strong, brave, smart, resilient. The one who always fights back. And if you gods forbid stumble, well, you’re supposed to do it in a very elegant way. And briefly!
I know how ashamed you feel when you end up a soppy mess. When you throw your hands up in the air while sitting in the middle of the floor, decidedly not groomed or perfumed or in heels, but barefoot, in an old t-shirt you treasure, looking around and up, trying to figure out from where to pull more strength, patience, optimism, smiles, and everything else…figure out how on earth to live up to your own-ness that everyone expects.
So that you won’t be judged and found lacking yet again.
I see you.
I know you were always told to be confident and love yourself as you are…as long as, and only-if. As long as you wear the right things, do the right things, at the right time, in the right order.
Only if you always act your winning part: self-centered yet generous, impeccably confident yet modest, resilient yet soft, spirited yet dead-serious. Only if you are a perfect mix between an iceberg, a sun, a drill sergeant, a neurosurgeon, a poet, a friendly volunteer, an Olympic athlete and a diva. Either that or the other extreme, a celibate cleric of some kind devoted only to spiritual matters or a cause.
I see you.
I know how you dread being in a position where you need help, someone to talk to, a reassuring hand in yours. I know how the generous offers around you often end up like car insurance…all great, until your premiums jump through the roof because you made a claim.
I know you are smart, and you feel. That you don’t need advice or sympathy. That you don’t want anyone to fix anything for you. Only to listen. Witness. Offer something light, loving and perhaps even surprisingly delightful to pamper you with. I know you want and need to feel safe when you remove the masks and just tell someone, without fear or pride, how hard it’s been…release all those bottled up emotions, all the exhaustion, anger and shame.
I see you.
You don’t consider yourself a victim. In fact, you take on entirely too much responsibility. You know your mistakes. You are very harsh with yourself, unlike what you try to be with others.
And I know how you struggle to put yourself back on your feet every time. I know how you endure. How you swallow your pride and keep walking, wishing you could run and dance without a care in the world, but having to accept that for the most part, all you can do when life hits hard is take small steps that look pitiful and beneath your ideal potential.
I know how you always blame yourself and beat yourself up mercilessly for not being more and better. For not living up to expectations. Others seem always stronger somehow, more deserving. They are right and see things clearly. They try harder, they’re more outgoing, more direct, more determined, more hardworking, more responsible, more insightful. Therefore they can act any way they choose.
But not you. You have to be on top of your game otherwise you’re not yourself, and if you’re not yourself, you’re simply not good enough.
I see you.
And I need to tell you this.
Life is all about learning, growing, improving. Failing is part of the deal. And you’re allowed to get up, in your own time, and do the best you can without feeling ashamed or less than you are. Nobody walks in your shoes. You don’t owe anyone an explanation.
Because you too are a work in progress. And at every stop along this journey…despite everything you have not yet mastered…you are enough.
When you’re strong and when you’re weak, when you’re the very image of grace and elegance and when you’re a soppy mess, when you say all the right things and when you’re awkward or tiresome…you are enough.
When you ask and when you give, when you make mistakes and when you can do no wrong, when you’re lazy and when you’re productive…you are enough.
When you are falling or getting up, when you win first prize or come in last, when you smile and when you cry too much…you are enough.
You are always enough.