I see you, I do. Trying to balance everything on those shoulders. You carry it so well. No one would ever guess your daily struggles. It’s because you hide it so well behind that smile, that sense of humor, that “I got this” attitude. 

But the thing is, dear soul, not everyone has a heart as big as yours. You have learned that the hard way. But you know what is so special about you? You never give in. You continue to extend your arms to others, even when you are struggling to hang on.

You put so much of your energy into others, the thought of doing something for yourself is daunting. You notice every little detail, overthink every possibility, and still hesitate when committing to something. You, my dear, are a people-pleaser. But I can sense you are tired, tired of feeling disappointed, tired of being a pillar of strength, tired of not being able to let go and depend on someone other than yourself. 

But still you rise with the sun each morning and carry yourself with such pride, integrity, and a strong work ethic—all the beautiful things that define your character. 

You are struggling to find your identity. You want to have the title at work, yet be home with your family creating memories. You want wealth while staying true to the modesty you grew up with. You want to do the things while being able to justify the time you spend on said things. You want to be everything to everyone, and up until this point, you have been able to. 

But things are different, you have more responsibility now. You are an old soul trying to keep up in a modern world. You are from a generation now wedged in the middle—your kids depend on you and your parents depend on you. Wait, what? That’s right, your parents, who have always been there to protect you and shield you from some of life’s harsh realities, they are aging, and even if they don’t admit it, they need you now, too.

You have grown up in a society that values education and occupational status. You are a fierce woman in the workforce. Yet, you still hold on to the now-dated norms that a woman works in the home, that you are the primary caregiver to your children. Your heart stings have to choose.

You have grown up in a society that taught you not to cry. You were told showing emotion made you weaker and masking your true feelings is how strong people carried themselves. But now society speaks differently, with mental illness and expressionism front-burner topics. The common belief now shifting from what you’ve been told your whole life to a “let-it-out” attitude.

You’ve read the parenting books that say not to hover or coddle your children, only to be replaced by ones that say free-range parenting should be viewed as neglect. You are forced to find the happy medium all while fitting into society’s socially acceptable eyes. 

You have grown up right smack-dab in the middle of all this, which is why you are feeling the pressure now—left needing to piece it together and decide what is right for you. But how do you know? 

The thing is, darling, you are not expected to know. Though it may feel messy now, that is the beauty of it all. And while you have put a ton of pressure on yourself to sit high atop this pedestal, holding your balance and never falling, the truth is, everybody falls sometimes. You may not see it. You may not feel it. Because you only saw what happened after they got up.

You, too, will get there. Give it time. Enjoy the path you are on, believe in yourself. Soak in life’s little pleasures and keep sharing your smile with others. Try to let go of the guilt and understand you are not in this alone. Because even though you feel overwhelmed, stressed, fatigued. . . still, you rise with the sun each morning and carry yourself with such pride, integrity, and a strong work ethic—all the beautiful things that define your character. You are building your legacy and years from now, you will be able to say with confidence, “I built that.”

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Brittany Heaward

Brittany lives in Southern Maine with her two daughters. She works in higher education and enjoys spending time with family, reading, writing, New England sports, being outdoors, and home decorating. She is a blend of realism and sarcasm. It is her passion to share her life experiences in writing, in an attempt to help readers through their own personal circumstances. Her motto: Always keep smiling!