how to be strong

Am I even strong?

There’s a lot I have to learn about strength, and I won’t pretend to have the worst experiences to back up whatever I have to say because I, most likely, don’t.

The last few weeks has been rough for me, and the only time I ever felt like this was 3 years ago. I remember shutting everyone and everything out when I crumbled because I was terrified of being judged, of being deemed as weak then taken advantage of, and I know a part of me didn’t wanna trust anyone anymore. I guess that’s why I ran; it wasn’t just figurative either.

When things started coming at me again about a month ago, I wanted to do the same thing. The feeling reminded me of my worst nightmares, not that I wanna wake from them, but that I wanna stay in them. Surely, they were all better than how I felt right now, but even that’s not an option because I’m stuck — again not just figuratively. This is where I grow a deeper fondness for John Green’s Papertowns. I wish I was Margaux Roth Spiegelman; I’d grab a backpack and a map and just go.

Leave.

It’s not always as easy or simple as uprooting your whole life and physically running from what you think is the problem. Sometimes the problem runs with you, not after you. You’re the key to the problem.

How you handle it lies in your understanding of yourself and what you’re facing. Trust that, and if it’s not too much to ask, trust the people who genuinely care about you too. I made the mistake of walking away when I could have had the support of those who didn’t leave when I was breaking. Not only did I make the the journey unnecessarily difficult for myself, I also punished them immensely.

I’m not suggesting to cling onto someone because I know, in times like this, you’d want to be alone and think, but don’t cut your connections because they may be your lifeline when you’re done facing your beast. Remind yourself that they want to be a part of your life, hardship or not, because they want you to be okay. Their means won’t always be what you need or want, but that doesn’t dilute the concern they have for you.

I won’t act like I have the answers because, if you’re going through a rough patch, we’re in the same boat, sailing similar traitorous waters. All I have to leave you with is the advice that I never got: strength comes in different forms. It won’t always mean facing the problem head on or running away from it completely. Whatever it means to you, remember that you have the power here, even when it feels like a free fall. 

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how to get through a bad day

Ask why.

I’ve been told one too many times by one too many people that the best way to get through a bad say is to just ‘choose’ to be happy, and I do believe that happiness is a choice. The important consideration though is how.

How do you choose to be happy when your hormones have been betraying you for the past 24 hours or more? 

Over the years, I’ve learned simple remedies, like I’m content snuggling under the covers and letting the pages of Murakami lighten my mood or munching down a whole pizza – yes, by myself. They’re the fairy dust to my weary soul.

Pizza Bianca’s my current favorite, but a simple pepperoni or cheese pizza’s perfect too.

I know I mentioned Murakami (and I’ve read most his words… twice, fine A LOT of times), but this is the book series I’m finishing up right now; they’re by Tahereh Mafi. You may wanna give it a read.

Although if the bad days keep recurring, you may wanna consider a different approach. Those little pockets of happiness we reserve for ourselves when we’ve had a particularly long week at work or taxing, borderline inhuman final exams are insignificant bandaids that may feign as solutions to what truly makes a ‘day’ bad.

I won’t pretend to be an expert, but from experience, I realized that often that the heavy feeling we get for, most likely, juvenile to no reason at all may be unresolved issues triggered by the most minute of events. They will keep nagging at us, capitalizing on the simplest flaw, until we finally resolve them from the roots. All that, it starts with one question:

Why?