A Letter To The Strong Friend

For the strong friend - the friend that no one checks on because they just assume they’re okay. The friend that waits until no one is around to fall apart, only to stitch themselves back together again in the morning. For the strong the friend. The friend who presses pause on the battle with  their own demons to help everyone else emerge victorious in the fight against theirs. For the friend who spends all day wearing  a superhero cape, solving everyone else’s problems, only to come home to something expired in the fridge and fall apart.

Take a deep breath. Open your heart. Release those burdens. This is for you.

The one everyone can rely on to offer a smile when frowns feel familiar, the friend who always has a joke up their sleeve when the world has forgotten what laughter looks like, the person everyone depends on to make meaning of life when they have more questions than answers. The one everyone leans on to nurse their wounds when life chews them up and spits them out. The problem solver, heart mender, make-sense-of-it-aller, and swoop-in-and-saver. 

Put down your armor. Take off your cape. Relax those strong shoulders.
This is for you.

I know it isn’t easy - there’s nothing easy about being the strong the strong friend. There’s nothing effortless about showing up for everyone else when some days, you struggle to show up for your damn self. It takes work to wake up everyday and be the heart that loves people to the other side of their bullshit. It requires effort to be the voice that pairs life’s low blows with a dope beat and makes sense of it all. It takes talent to keep showing up even you're too tired to sleep.

Your arms get weary. Your soul gets jet-lagged. Your heart gets exasperated. You get tired. This is for you.

You grow tired of putting on a brave face for everyone around you, when you’re scared shitless sometimes too - tired of using your strong shoulders to save everyone else from plummeting face first, when your arms need a soft place to curl up in and fall apart too - tired of loving people through their bullshit when you’re trying to craft masterpieces through your own rough drafts too. Tired of being the first thought when someone needs something, but the last on the “to check in on” list.  I know it’s exhausting - exhausting helping someone else get to the other side of their breakthrough while your breakthrough still evades you. But, when consumed with the task of holding everyone else up, whose arms does the strong one fall apart in? Where do you unpack your worries and cradle your fears to sleep? Where does your soul rest? Where do you muster up the energy to show up for yourself?

You don’t have all the answers. And you’re damn tired of pretending to.
This is for you.

People glimpse into the windows of your soul and just assume you’re okay - that if you’re strong enough for them, you must be strong enough for yourself too. But they don’t realize that those arms holding them up are built out of your grandmother’s prayers - that those shoulders made of strength are being held up by angels - that the voice of reason they rely on is crafted from God’s 3 AM “trust me and the process” whispers. They don’t understand that sometimes the strong friend needs held too. Sometimes you just need someone to hold you when your arms are too exhausted from holding everyone else. Sometimes your soul needs a soft place to rest too.

You’re human too. This is for you.

Sometimes you just need a hand to hold when being the strong friend takes a toll. Sometimes you just need someone to understand that your silence is when your demons are the loudest - and sometimes you need an extra set of hands to clap for you as you dismantle your doubts too. Sometimes you someone to cheer you on while you show up for yourself. But please, make room to show up for yourself. Please understand that you can show up for the people you love without sacrificing you showing up for yourself. 

Please understand that if you use everything you have to hold everyone else up, there’s nothing left for you. And please know.. the world deserves more than a diluted version of yourself.

Take a deep breath. Open your heart. Release those burdens.
This is for you.
Put down your armor. Take off your cape. Relax those strong shoulders.
This is for you.
Rest.
This is for you.

 

LettersJayde Ware