My younger sister called me last night in tears. I thought something horrible had happened but she was simply having a rough day and needed someone to talk to. That’s fine. I’m good at listening and I am glad she can call me for that.
She’s had a rough year. Well, truth be told, she’s had a rough adulthood. They aren’t my stories to tell but she’s been through enough in her lifetime to write a book (and I think she should, she’s better at writing than I am).
She doesn’t think so, but she is one of the strongest people I know. She’s dealt with a lot of heartache and bad luck but she’s still here. That’s gotta count for something. I know she’s tired of fighting each day though. I get it.
One of those “could have done without that” things happened to her yesterday. You know, your day is going OK but one little thing causes you to break down. So she called me.
“Why does this stuff keep happening to me? Why am I such a failure at life?”
“Look Kel, that shit happens to all of us but nobody talks about it.”
“Really? But you haven’t had stuff like this happen to you!”
“But I have, I just don’t talk about it. I promise you that every person you meet has something weighing them down that they choose not to talk about for fear of looking like a failure.”
I went on to say that by looking at her, it looks like she has her life together. She has a good job, a place to live, a car, and an excellent personality. Nobody knows how much she struggles. And don’t you think that’s exactly what everyone else is doing?
Nobody Knows It All
We are all just putting on a good show. We all want to portray that we have our shit together. However, I have yet to meet anyone that would say, without a doubt, that they are sure their life is on the right track.
Seriously, every adult that I have ever spoken to about it (even my parents) will fully admit that adulthood is just trying to keep up the illusion that you know what you are doing.
Obviously some people are better at it than others. I think my sister is really good at it. I am as well. People see me as someone who knows what she is doing. News flash: I have no clue!
I’d like to think I am good about keeping things real. I’m open about a lot of things that other people might not want to talk about. Do you know why I do that? So others don’t feel so alone.
Nobody Shares Every Part of Their Story
I’ll talk about mental illness, things from my past, the trials of motherhood, or anything that doesn’t always paint me in a great light.
I’ve written stories that have embarrassed me but I did it so others can see that they aren’t the only one who struggles with something.
I’ll also share these things on social media. That can be a comforting thing; to know others share your struggle.
Do I share every last, little thing about my life? Absolutely not. There are just some things that I don’t want people to know about. And that’s OK. We are all allowed to have our secrets. You’re allowed to keep those things under wraps.
As I explained all this to my sister, I think it made her feel better. I hope it did anyway. She stopped crying at least and ended the conversation thanking me.
I hate to see her struggle but I think it helped her to know that she wasn’t the only one, despite what other people portray.
We Are Getting Through the Best We Know How
She talked about an incident that happened last year and said,
“Oh my God, that was the worst day of my life!”
I paused a bit and said, “No it wasn’t. You’ve been through way worse than that.”
She laughed and said, “Yeah you’re right. I’ve had way worse unfortunately.”
She’s been through so much and I reminded her she got through it. Just like she always has. I’ve seen her get through worse so I know this little blip on the radar is something she can handle.
We are all going through things like this and most people don’t want to talk about it. Nobody wants to admit that they are struggling. But it’s a fact of life, we are all just trying the best we can to get through each day.
Keep that in mind the next time you see someone who seems to have it all. It’s really easy to fool people into thinking your life is going great. Believe me, I have people fooled as well.
Nobody has it easy. Nobody skates through life unscathed. We all have shit to get through. You can put on a good show all you like but if you are struggling, know you aren’t alone.