Switch these phrases and the same rings true.
Every day I wake up and breathe in and breathe out. Some days, it feels hard. It feels like effort. Not because I don’t want to be up and breathing but because I seem to be conscious of every move I make and every thought I have.
I have been exhausted by 6pm almost every day for quite some time. I just want a nap. I’ve been searching for reasons why because I haven’t felt like I’ve been doing anything taxing. But I have.
My daily exhaustion lies in being strong.
The last year of my life has not been a walk in the park. I ended my marriage after being together almost ten years. I lost a job I loved. My house, almost literally, has fallen apart and been put back together. I am now raising my teenager as a single mom. I took a pay cut that made life a little harder. I started dating again. Without a doubt I could have caved in several times over and I don’t think anyone would have faulted me for it.
Being a strong, wholehearted person is no more difficult than making that decision. But, that is one hell of a hard decision.
It’s like deciding to hike a mountain carrying a weight the size of you behind you. You’re dragging two of you up that hill: the person you are trying to be and the person you don’t want to be. Distinguishing between the two is what takes courage. And the whole practice is exhausting.
What’s making me tired is the effort. It literally sucks the wind out of me.
As you may recall, I saw the end of a relationship recently that is still painful for me to wrap my brain around. Regardless of all the crap I’ve dealt with in the last year, I gave that relationship everything I had. Simply, it was a choice that I made. I chose strength even when I didn’t have it.
I could have run away so many times. Being alone certainly would have been a safer choice.
Putting up walls and hiding behind them instead of giving life a shot is easy and comfortable but, in the end, is nothing more than self induced solitary confinement.
What bothers me about the end of that relationship is this man’s inability to choose strength. It has been the source of anger and bitterness and resentment. And guess what? It takes a lot of strength and energy to not wallow in that and let it get the best of me. Damn, is that a heavy decision. His weakness has made me stronger.
In any relationship, there is honesty and compassion and care. There are bad moments and bad days. Our ability to power through them, instead of giving up, is what makes us strong. Each time we do it, that weight we drag up the hill seems lighter.
Strength feeds on itself. It grows from its own space. It expands.
I think most people would call it mindfulness. The mere act of being aware of your thoughts and actions. I have found that the more strength I garner, the more empathetic I become which, in turn, takes even more strength to manage.
So it turns around and around. Expend energy, choose, grow stronger. Over and over.
I am working to build a life that I can be proud of that is steeped in that strength.
To choose to be a good friend, a good daughter, a good mother, a good companion. Be kind. Be honest. Say what needs to be said. Be gentle. Be understanding. Be firm. But, I just have decision fatigue.
I know at some point the energy expenditure will decrease. It will become habitual. The choices will become innate. The best choice I can make each day is to just keep doing it no matter how hard.