This I Believe

Meghan - Phoenix, Arizona
Entered on May 15, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: courage, family, fear

“You don’t always have to be strong, just never be weak.” My brother said those words to me on November 16th of last year. I had said my final goodbye to my Mom as she left for Seattle that same morning and had walked through the rest of my day completely emotionless; doing all I could to hold back any feeling that would expose what had happened earlier that morning.

My brother came home from work that evening and came in for his routine, “Hello, how are you, sister?” He stopped mid-sentence, told me to stand up and held me. He knew what was wrong and held me in that hug next to his 6’2” frame for what seemed like hours. It was then that the two of us cried for the first time about what had actually happened. At the exact same time we realized that the next two years would be the hardest years we would face. We then sat together for an hour touching on every subject for which we were now responsible in my Mother’s absence. I explained to him how I didn’t know if I could do this, how I didn’t think I could be tough skinned and strong everyday until our Mom came home. He then said those lasting words, “You don’t always have to be strong, just never be weak.” I always thought that we did have to be strong all the time. That we had to act like everything was okay every single day, and pretend as if life was perfect. However, that is not what life is about. I now let myself have bad days; that is part of being human; I just don’t let those feelings distract me from what is really important.

Life is about showing that emotion, expressing the depth in your every characteristic by embracing your obstacles. You can’t hide from them with that strong persona, ignoring them only makes them harder to deal with later. If you force yourself to be strong all the time, you’re filling your life with days of exhaustion from trying to deal with everything at once, to not giving yourself a chance to digest or comprehend any situation. That is where the key part of this phrase comes in.

“…just never be weak.” Don’t let yourself be weak, don’t let yourself be tackled by difficult situations. Though, sometimes it feels like the easiest solution would be to surrender and let yourself be defeated and move on to the next obstacle, the easiest solution isn’t always the right one. By doing so, there is a risk of cheating yourself out of valuable life lessons.

The moral of my story? Do not let yourself hide your sadness, pain or anger from anyone, the key is to not let it defeat or define you.