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I have always been there for all my friends. Whether it is in person, over a phone call, or through a text, I make sure I am available unless I am working and it’s super busy. But, other than that, I am devoted to helping everyone else but myself. I have been the friend that listens to everyone’s problems but doesn’t share hers as often. I have been the friend that always pretends to be the strong one when everyone else needs a lending hand. I have been the strong friend who is always there for everyone else but herself.
Sometimes, we want to be there for everyone—we truly do, don’t get me wrong. But there are times when we are exhausted. We are exhausted of not only our day-to-day activities but of keeping everything bottled in. It’s not always easy to be open about our problems to everyone else, even your close friends. I feel like if I share my problems, even to those who share them with me, I feel like I am a burden. I feel like I am bothering everyone else by spilling my problems on to the table. This is not something I have recently experienced. I think I have become the stronger one in the family, too.
When there is so much to do at home and then there is so much to do elsewhere like at school or work, things can become very overwhelming. So overwhelming that I want to hide in my room and cry. I would want to cry for days but I know I would not have enough energy for that. But, I have become so overwhelmed that it leads to being stressed. I always put myself last and everyone else before me. But, how can I care for everyone else when I don’t even take care of myself? Even in front of my family, I always pretend that everything is fine. I become the strong one who my mother can confide problems in and the person my sister goes to when she’s questioning things in life: career wise, relationships, or friends to say the least. But who can I go to? Yes, I have friends, close ones, but for so long I have thought that I am a burden to others.
But you know what? Sometimes we need to take a step back as strong people and realize that things will be better. We must realize that the world should not be on our shoulders to be the only ones to carry it forward. It is time for us to put ourselves first. It is time for us to speak up and whether our friends like it or not, we need their support as much as they have ours.
It is necessary for us to scream about what we’re pissed about or what annoys us. It is necessary for us to be true to ourselves and speak our minds. Sometimes, we take the strong friend role with us everywhere. The strong one in friendships, the strong one at work that holds things together, the strong one at home that soaks up the stress and becomes overwhelmed. Sometimes we want a change; we want to be the vulnerable friend who lays everything on the table because it has been weighing us down. Sometimes, we want to be the friend who is checked up on instead of being the friend that always checks on others. We want to feel that we are as important as all the other friends in the group, as all the other friends who share their stories and the problems they are going through. We want to feel acknowledged at the family table for holding down the fort because families are there forever.
We must realize that we are worth it. We are worth it to be everything we want to be, to be any kind of person.
To those who know the strong person in the group: reach out, have a conversation that is centered around the other person. Make them feel welcomed and comfortable to open up. Sometimes, we just want that undivided attention to feel that we are as important as the person next to us. For those who see the strong ones in the family, reach out and let them know that you appreciate their hard work. Reach out and let them know that they are recognized for everything that they do beyond what is necessary.