The comments I get most often are "You are so strong", or "Your strength amazes me". While I am honored that people think so highly of me, I must admit, my strength is an illusion. Like the great and powerful Wizard of Oz, my strength is just a bunch of smoke and mirrors - maybe a few levers and pulleys. Underneath it all, it comes down to one thing: survival. I am just surviving.
Human beings have evolved to the point where our survival instincts are more than finding food, water, and shelter. We now have instincts of mental protection. When faced with hardship, we do what we need to do to get through it. That's all this is. Survival instincts. Self preservation.
I get up every morning. I put on clothes. I do dishes. I go outside. I write. I do these things, not because I am strong, but because if I didn't do them - I wouldn't do them. I would lay in bed for days, and I would slowly lose my mind. I would allow the gray waves of grief to wash over me and soak me to the bone. I wouldn't care if they pulled me under - I would let them. I would, essentially, give up on life and become something entirely different. A shell of a person. A hollow facade. I am surviving. I am not strong. I am weak and weary. I am exhausted and broken. But, I am fighting against this darkness because I don't want to be this way forever. I want to live.
I want to live to honor my daughter. I want to live to support my husband. I want to live to give thanks to all the people who have shown me how much I am loved. I want to live because I am not finished living.
The Wizard of Oz was revered for his awesomeness. He was placed on a throne and sought out for his wisdom. But then, it was revealed he was just an old man in a balloon. Do not put me on a pedestal. I'm clumsy and I'll just fall off. I'm just an old man in a balloon, blowing smoke and pulling levers to survive in this strange and foreign land.