Life

When You’re Tired Of Being Strong

When You’re Tired Of Being Strong

How many times have you been told to be strong?

For me, it’s something I have been told for as long as I can remember. “You’re a man – you gotta be strong, understand that” – that was drummed into my head as a kid, you have to be strong. As a kid I was strong. I had no choice.

I remember when my mom died and my Grandma came to raise us in the UK, periodically she would have to return to Jamaica to look after her own family, family that she had left behind because she didn’t want me and my siblings to end up in government care as orphans as my Dad was (and still is) nowhere to be seen. Each time she went to Jamaica, she took my brother or my sister with her, I was left behind with family friends because I would understand,she couldn’t afford to take everyone, plus I was strong. I would understand.

I was strong. I was strong at school, strong at work, strong all the time. No time for weakness. I “stronged” my way through numerous relationships until I got tired of them, they required me to be weak and to compromise. I didn’t time for that, I was strong.

As I got older, I just couldn’t understand vulnerability, It was an alien concept, I used to say “vulnerability isn’t an attractive trait” – I used to tell vulnerable people that to their faces. Get strong!

I grew up with my Grandmother, her kids (my aunt) and my siblings. Me and my aunt were super close, she was only 4 years older than me and though she was a devout christian, she was too cool. This was Jamaica in the 80’s, I loved her, she loved me. We could just talk. She used to ask me about music and I told her I wanted to be a radio presenter. Even when I moved to Kenya, she would call me and say “my spirit told me to call you” and we would chat, extensively.

She died 5 years ago from cancer and a part of me died. For the first time in my life, my strength took a beating. Tears fell, but I held on. Strong.

When I returned to Jamaica for her funeral, I walked into our compound and my grandmother was sitting under the mango tree at the front of the house, as she often did – “Wha gwaan Mom?” – She replied “Ah my son, she’s gone and I don’t think I can live without her” – I walked to the side of the house and burst into tears, of course you don’t want to be seen crying because you strong. I couldn’t believe that my grandmother with her zest for life and her strength could say something like this, especially after all these years of being strong.

3 months later, I returned to Jamaica to bury my grandmother. I guess she was right, as usual, she couldn’t live without her.

I didn’t cry at my grandmothers funeral, truth be told I wasn’t interested in the process, she was gone. In three months my life changed. The funeral was just an inconvenience, it was for everyone else, it wasn’t for me. I didn’t need it, I didn’t want it. I was being strong, but my safety net was gone, now I was on my own.

I didn’t mentally process burying the two people I loved the most in the world within the space of 3 months, I blocked it out. I continued my personal crusade of saving the world, got back to being strong for myself and those around me. Things had changed though. There was a void that I couldn’t fill and as happy as I appeared to be, inside, my strength crippled me. The things I found joy in slowly became mundane and I kept searching for things and people to fill that emptiness. To no avail because that void represented vulnerability and that’s something I refuse to accept.

But yo, I’M TIRED, I’m tired of being strong. I’m tired of being a tower of strength. I’m tired of being the safe port in a storm. My strength has became my captor. I’m tired. I’m tired of trying to make everything right. My ultralight beam will be permanently dimmed if I don’t stop being strong.

So I’m gonna be weak. Not in the sense of frailty, but I’m gonna live from a place that doesn’t want to save the world, because I realise that selfishly this has been an attempt at saving myself. I was never the most confident child and to compensate for that I strove to be the best at the things I loved and for the people I loved, I would out work and out love everyone because I didn’t want anyone to see anything else but greatness, strength and stability. This doesn’t mean that I am gonna love less, or even care less, what it means is that I must find balance and I must find peace. Inner peace.

“For peace of mind, we need to resign as general manager of the universe”

Today, I offer the universe my resignation. I’m sorry, but I just wasn’t strong enough.

Jedi Master T

February 11th, 2017

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Wow. I related to this a little. About losing someone close to you… and later realizing you didn’t process that as you should. Great read!

  2. Allan Omuka says:

    Deep…

  3. Merry Berry says:

    Thanks for this. Funny how you stumble on things when you need to!! I’ve been strong for everyone for too long, I’m taking a personal day, let someone else handle this today.

  4. AWINJA says:

    i hope i get to point STRIKE A BALANCE

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