By: Dana Zillgitt, Regular Contributor
I’ve always been the strong one. Always the mother figure, a beacon of hope for others; my strength has been a method of coping with other people’s struggles. And before now, I’ve always done it with ease. I’ve always done this no questions asked. That was my role: the strong one. But now that I’m weak, who will be strong for me? Who will stand up for me?
For the longest time, my answer would have remained the same. I needed to be strong for others as well as myself. But that being said, I always put myself on the backburner. I was never a focus, even to maintain my own wellbeing, my own survival. Others came first, family came first. I was secondary. And with my growing wisdom, I realize I cannot be somebody else’s backbone if I cannot be my own first. Action cannot come without wisdom. I needed to learn that I needed to be strong for myself first and foremost before I could be strong for somebody else.
I may have held death in my hands since I was young but that does not mean I was strong. That does not mean I was an angel. That just means I have seen more than I need to. I can sense an addict from miles away and I know an overdose from the moment it happens. I am good at saving lives. I am good at bringing people back from hell in one piece. And I am good at saving people from themselves. But I am not good at saving myself, which needs to be my focus. I am not good at putting myself first.
So what does this mean for me? It may have taken me three funerals in the past 18 months but it makes me realize that while I have three more guardian angels than I did before, I make my own decisions. I cannot rely on anybody else. All this being said, I am still not alone. I am still not one against the world. Trust may not be my strong suit but it is also my best weapon. My inner circle is my sharpest tool. Family is thicker than water and blood bears no bearing here. Family brought me back from the brink and it brought me back to me. But by no means was it easy nor will it be an easy road ahead. I am the leader of this journey but I cannot do this alone. And I will be damned if my family, blood and water, isn’t by my side.
Where does your strength come from? What have you learned about yourself during times when you had to be really strong? Share your story here.
Dana has her BA in International Affairs & Spanish as well as a mild obsession with rescue animals and all things caffeinated. She’s mastered the art of the selfie, fort building, and even the sass battle. Plus, she can quote 95% of Anchorman and Zoolander.
image via idrankthecfkoolaid.com