Twenty!

Strength/Perspective

I’ve realized a few things about myself when I’m faced with a personal dilemma or hardship, a situation that unexpectedly demands full attention toward my own health and imposes the possibility that things won’t go on as planned.

I have to appear so strong. In my mind, it’s romantic to think that I don’t have to appear strong–of course I do. But then, ‘strength’ is all relative, as is everything in the world.  That is key; put it into perspective.  Not quite like, “Well, I could be in Tanzania living in the bush, starving with no health care to speak of…”   But close to that type of perspective.  When you put the idea of inner strength into perspective, you take it from it’s glorified position and bring it into focus.  What entails me being “strong”?  Me sitting in a doctors office, scared?  No.  That’s being human.  Then is it the way I deal with it thereafter, as I squint into the bright sunlight 2 1/2 hours later blinking back tears and beginning to wander?  Because in my idea, that’s where inner strength comes into play.  And if that be the case, then at that moment I feel damn near like a dog that goes to die under the porch alone.  I want to appear strong, but if I can’t humbly sit with loved ones and express my fears, how strong am I really?  And how far have I come?  Am I STILL waging my inner strength on my ability to cope with it alone?  What did I learn in Japan, after all?…. that life is meant to be shared.  Hence my blog, I suppose.  But I’m talking deeper than that.  Life is meant to be shared, face to face, vulnerable tears to the shoulder of friends, questions without knowing the answers, but not rhetorical either.  Life is meant to be shared when we are uncertain of how we should feel about a particular event, while we’re wondering if our emotions are valid, our fears founded, and while we’re shoved into the harsh daylight fighting a torturous battle against self-pity.  I refuse to express self-pity, I hate to feel it, but sometimes we can’t help it.  Why should we feel less virtuous because we are concerned for ourselves?  (Granted, self-pity is okay to a very direct point; only those who aren’t aware of this self-pity clause are the ones who surpass that point.)

In this type of a circumstance, I shut down for a little while.  I don’t want to talk to anyone on the phone, I don’t want to use my computer, I don’t want to hang out with anyone that’s difficult to be around, I don’t want to talk very much at all…  It’s like when I feel in a bad mood, I just want to be alone, I don’t want anyone to try to cheer me up, I just gotta chill and do it on my own (usually doesn’t take very long at all.) But after that, after I cheer myself back up, get past the fear or the anger or whatever it is, I look at the whole thing as an exhilarating life-challenge to overcome.  The only other thing that might hinder me is procrastination, which is usually slight in serious circumstances.  

My dad knows I do this, he just kind of allowed me to get off the phone quickly, and when we finally talked again today he very calmly approached me about it.  When I told him I feel like I just want to shut down and be alone in emotional times he said that it was the Swedish in me.  He said that Swedish are loners, and it’s pretty true.  He also imparted words of wisdom when I said that I had to learn to overcome this trait of mine the next time it happened while I was in a relationship, since the last time I felt this way it ruined any remaining relationship with the guy I was dating at the time.  He said I just needed to communicate that I am this way, I don’t necessarily have to try to change it.  So here I am, communicating on an obtuse level.

It does make me feel better to know that I have improved since then.  And speaking of perspective…watch your ears the first part, this guy is really vulgar and sad.

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3 thoughts on “Strength/Perspective

  1. Dear Erika, What insightful writing. The question of inner strength is one we all try to sort out. Here’s my take on it. Being strong is not just relying on yourself but seeking help when you really need it and are willing to take advice and put it to good use. But the ultimate responsibility does lie within, that still small voice, or at times yelling voice that puts us back on track. The Chinese have a central approach to this question called constancy in change. In other words slowly as you mature you build an inner core that holds you fast to your fate and integrity in the face of natural change. Change as in the seasons, the process of aging, of dealing with power and success. Whatever goes up must come down around again and so on. From what I understand reality is a paradox, there are always opposites, the horizon always recedes. But within this middle earth we get to live out our unique and amazing life, and what a gift, and we can decide whether we will ride out our fates with integrity or be hauled kicking and screaming like pigs to the slaughter. Well well there you have a major spout from your loving Grandma. So glad your Mom will be with you, keep me posted my love.

  2. evvvvva says:

    you are quite the little smarty pants, I love you. I am so proud of you for being so strong. I want you to know that I am always here for you, day and night, just a phone call away and soon to be steps away in our little house.

  3. laura says:

    Sometimes I feel you have gone into my head and put my feelings into words I could never express. Your last two blogs are my inner thoughts. I have such gratitude and love for you. Bringing those thoughts out of the darkness into the light makes them easier to see and feel. I thought of this quote from Will Rogers. ” Even if your on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

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