Yesterday I came home from a meeting and my younger son excitedly ran up to me to tell me that he beat his older brother at football. I asked him how it made him feel and he said, “strong.” Later in the day I went to my fitness class and I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and a thought entered my mind, “I’m strong.”
Quite a while ago now, a counselor told me that it was important for my sons to feel strong, so let them beat you at wrestling or some physical things at times. Yesterday night at my class that was taken to another level for me for understanding.
I have not felt strong in a very long time. Yesterday I got a lot of work done, my house was clean, my school was done, and things felt like they were in order. I keep telling myself that it’s going to be ok, but yesterday I actually felt it. It was a great feeling.
And then there was today.
Today everything felt like it fell apart. I couldn’t keep up to work, the kids made messes, and I couldn’t even look at my school. A friend disclosed to me a personal violation, for a time I was concerned one of my students was in crisis and was worried for her safety, and I made some big personal decisions. So by 12:30pm, I broke down. I literally went back to my bed and just laid down because an anxiety attack hit so hard I didn’t know what else to do.
I felt so defeated. How could I go from feeling strong to not being able to move? I am still in my pajamas from this morning. But as the day comes to an end, I get why what the counselor told me to do with my son was so important. It is absolutely critical that at some moments we feel strong because there are so many when we don’t. How can I make it through the day if I never felt strong? At least by being able to feel it for a time, even if it is a short time, I know it’s there. Every day is different and being strong today looks much different than being strong on other days. Today being strong meant drawing my next breath, getting out of bed – twice, and meeting the bare minimum of the day. I don’t feel strong because today looks different than yesterday, but because of yesterday, I know that I am, even if it doesn’t look or feel like it.
I am still breathing. I am strong.