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Signed , "The Strong Friend"..

Dear Friends,

I know it seems like I have it all together but I don't. Yes, I am strong but sometimes I'd like to vent too. You always come to me with your problems but you never really ask me about my own. I love giving you advice and I love being there for you but have you ever thought about being there for me? Some of you only contact me when you need to vent and then shortly after, you find an excuse to get off of the phone. Some of you are fully aware of the things going on at home yet, I never get a message that reads, "how's your mom?" "You doing okay sis?"

Sometimes I'm just looking for an out. If I got the chance to let it out I promise I wouldn't talk for long, just long enough to tell you that I'm worried that I won't be financially stable fast enough to support my parents who are getting very old and sick. None of you have sick parents yet (unless you just have not told me), but when the time comes that you do I will be there for you the way I wish you were here for me. Stop telling me my parents are not my responsibility because the truth is, you really don't actually know how bad things are, why they are, and why they actually are my responsibility.

Do you know what it's like to watch your mom go from sumo wrestling you to barely being able to move around? Do you know what it's like to watch your dad skip out on doctors visits because going to work to try and make ends meet trumps his health? We still don't even have a full answer to the whole prostate problem and we've just been ignoring it because he wants to. Do you know what it's like to watch your little brother lay in a hospital bed as he is diagnosed with a disease he doesn't believe can kill him? Do you know what it's like to try so hard to get your little brother to take the disease he has seriously and watch him catapult himself into his next near death experience? Do you know what it's like to feel helpless no matter how much you try to help? I'm sure there are things you don't tell me either but the truth is I'm worried and I'm scared that things at home will get worse before I am able to be in a position to fix things at any time they need to be fixed. I am the oldest, there is an unspoken responsibility that you are born with as the oldest child. If you are not the oldest child I do not expect you to understand that. Some of you don't understand why I can't move the way you can, even when I stretch myself to be there during times I'd rather be with my parents.

Sometimes I feel taken for granted because since I am so strong, and I've gone through so much, I go above and beyond to be a friend and sometimes I don't feel as though you all notice that. I am not saying that I don't want to be there for you, I just want the amount of love that I give to be reciprocated. I pride myself on knowing how to be a friend but I am frustrated with myself for allowing this to go on for so long. It's not your fault. I've never told you that I need to talk because I make it seem like everything is okay. On one hand that's true because if things are not okay, I MAKE them okay, but I still want you guys to check on me from time to time. I want you guys to think about putting yourselves in my shoes. We all have problems so I'm not asking for pity. I just ask for you to be a sounding board as I am to you. I love you and I will always be there for you. I won't tell you that I'm hurting unless you ask because that's not my role as the strong friend and that's just not who I am ( a cry baby).

With all of these words being said, I'm not weak and I don't need a weekly check up. Just remember my struggles as I do yours. I know that you all appreciate me checking on you because when I do, you flood me with the issues and I am always there to listen tentatively. Friendships are a two way street, remember that.


Your Strong Friend


Charlotte, NC, USA