I'm tired of being the strong one all the time. I even feel guilty for writing such a blasphemy.
Ever since I was a little girl, I had to be strong as I watched my mother have a break down for years after my father left her. When I was in the second grade, she broke her back and was in the hospital for quite a while and it took years for her to recover from her injury, so I became accustomed to having to watch out for my younger brother.
My brother was always weaker than me. I had to protect him from the other boys in the neighborhood, running after them and beating them up when they bullied him. My mother was very abusive and I often had to protect my brother from her physical and emotional abuse.
My mother and father always had higher expectations than they had for my brother. I had to have better grades, run faster, throw a ball farther, and anything else you might imagine. It wasn't even negotiable that I went to college, and when I was 16 my father told me that he wouldn't help me get a car because I had to work for whatever I wanted.
In my friendships I always served in the capacity as a mentor. My father had taught me a lot about money because his sorry ass became a stock broker when I was in high school and if there is anything that he did for me, it was to teach me about money and investing. That's about the only thing that he did for me, since he thought he apparently owed us nothing else. It always seemed that I also was able to crack the code to the systems-how to apply for college, how to save money, how to do this or that while my friends struggled with understanding how to do such things. So obviously while I was growing up, I did my share of making budgets for my friends, helping them find a job, and tons of other things.
In my family I always played the role of mediator and negotiator. When a cousin, aunt or some other dysfunctional person was fighting with the other person, I was always called in to mediate, solve the damn problems, or arbitrate some dispute or crisis. I sometimes look back on my life and I feel like I was never a child because I was too busy with adults dragging me into their nonsense.
The men in my life have always been extremely hard on me. Demanding, to be precise. Ever since I was a child my father demanded so much more from me than he did anyone else. "Who even needs a son, when I've got a daughter like you? You are ten times tougher than any boy could ever be," he used to tell me over and over when I was a little girl.
Many of my male relationships have seemed to repeat that pattern, where the men in my life sometimes treat me differently than they treat other women. "You're like one of the guys," I've been told far too many times. Male bosses tend to have such unrealistic expectations of me. And because I am such a perfectionist/workaholic/ambitious woman it seems that I just keep reinforcing the pattern where they have unrealistic expectations, I come through on whatever they want, and then they just ride me harder the next time.
Sometimes I just want to let it all go to hell, telling anyone who asks me for advise that to go bark up someone else's tree. Or just letting a complete disaster happen without even picking up my finger.
But then one of my male friends just called me and asked me if I would mentor his middle school daughter. "I need someone to teach her how to be a strong woman. Her mother is already losing arguments to her. I really look up to you and I need her to learn how that she can be argumentative, but in a professional way-like you," he tells me. And although I am extremely burned out with being that person who solves problems, how can I honestly turn that down?
But when do I ever get to fall and have someone catch me?? Well, it sure sounds good but then again a little thought in my head whispers to me, "Why on Earth would you even want to fall? And you definitely don't need anyone to catch you. Get up off of your bruised ass and keep on moving forward".
My point? Nothing. I'm tired. And maybe I need a damn vacation.
A Baltimore Uprising Sketchbook
10 hours ago