Carrying the Load

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It's OK to not feel OK.

An interesting realization has been occurring in my life over the last few months. Truly, much to my surprise, I’ve discovered I’m not superhuman after all. I know that sounds terribly arrogant. I’ve unearthed the great truth that I can’t feel fantastic and think clearly and interact with high energy all the frickin’ time, ya’ll! I need to lean on others. I am tired. I need to recharge.

Whoa. WHAT?

The fact is I’ve known this my entire life and even wrote about it here, and I do draw on friends and family daily – but not to this degree. I’ve been on such a high roll and truly at peace even when life gets bumpy for so long, this low ebb doesn’t fit my modus operandi. I don’t feel at peace right now, and I hate it! I’m not even sure what to do with myself. I’ve had the luxury of having the strength and energy to fill the role of sounding board and problem-solver, caregiver, comic relief, and prayer warrior for so long, it’s suddenly incredibly uncomfortable realizing I’m in need of these things now. It feels as though the tables have turned, and it’s unsettling.

Writing this for public consumption is difficult, but that’s the point I want to make. The most critical discovery I have made is learning the importance of being honest with myself and my loved ones and realizing it’s OK to not feel “fine.” It’s OK to feel like crap from time to time. I have not felt OK lately, but I hid this from people who cared. When someone asked how I was, I’d say “Good, thanks. How are you?” I didn’t want to burden them nor did I have the energy or words to express how I was really feeling. So I started crawling into a hole – me, the person who talks about everything to everyone. Then yesterday, I pretty much blew my top, likely from internalizing all this crap I’m not used to internalizing. I took being direct and honest to a whole new level and I was not acting like myself. All of this scared me so I intentionally told my best friend and my husband how I was feeling. I felt better telling them. And instead of crawling back into my hole, I made sure I worked out again last night. The intensity and stamina was lower than usual, but my mood boosted and I had a surge of energy.

Today, I’m being honest. I don’t feel OK. And I don’t have to explain why. Friends still offer hugs and words of encouragement and prayer. They check in and let me know they are thinking of me. And I do the same for them. We have a reciprocal friendship, a two-way exchange of love and support.

Loved ones help each other carry the load in life. Sometimes the weight is equally distributed; sometimes one person has to carry more than the other. I think the best relationships are the ones where you have juggled positions several times, sometimes carrying more of the weight and sometimes allowing someone else to carry more, never worrying about fair shares. Today I need my loved ones to carry the bulk of the load. I will take my turn when you need me, friends; you just have to let me know. If we’re both too tired to carry anything, we can sit and stare at the load together until one of us is ready.

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