It’s been almost a month since Gary was arrested, and over these last few weeks, I’ve been told “You are so strong” and urged to “be strong” more times than I can count. It has left me questioning what strong really is.
Is strong really just refusing to give up on someone you love, because you are gripping the reins too tightly to even think about letting go? The ride keeps racing along with you hanging on for dear life, but in your heart, there is no other option.
Is strong simply being afraid to sit down and hold your emotions in your hands, turn them over and over, feel them in your mind and heart and gut, so you keep racing along, trying to outpace the pain, knowing eventually it will catch you, probably at night when the house is quiet and your mind has nowhere to hide?
Is strong a sheer stubborness, a steel spine that grew from years of standing up for yourself and for others, a backbone forged from knowing damn well who is worth the fight and who is not, and refusing to back down when they are worth the fiercest of fights?
Or maybe strong is moving on despite the weakness, despite the tears, one foot in front of another, trying to keep one eye on the light at the end of the tunnel even as vindictive and selfish people assure you there is no light; and to them I offer a sincere and heartfelt “fuck you”, to everyone who has judged me, judged Gary, stood on their holier-than-thou high horse and pointed accusing fingers and badmouthed people they never supported or even tried to know in all the time leading up to this. There is a difference between voicing concerns and simply waving a dismissing hand and sweeping people up in generalizations, stereotypes, and convenient pigeonholes so you don’t have to exert even one synapse in an inept brain.
Strong is being scared, sad, frazzled, and uncertain…but doing what needs to be done to help someone anyway, finding a way through that fog to keep going, for someone else, for yourself, and realizing that so much of the world disappears when someone you love is in crisis. Strong is doing what is right, even when too many others are too weak to understand your drive.