THE FALL OF THE STRONG FRIEND by Guest Blogger, Alyssa

I have come to the end of a version of myself again. There have been many times that this has happened:
-when I broke up with my baby daddy
-when my parents got divorced
-when I got cheated on while in a committed relationship
-when I gave up my dream job for peace in my life

And now here a month into the quarantine life:
-my anxiety is through the roof
-depression is knocking on my door and invited themselves in
-my faith is being tested
-I miss my family and friends terribly
-I miss having my life planned out and my planner organized, colorful and executed
-death is all around and I’m losing my grandmother to this virus

And BOOM!!!

I am smacked in the face with something that I have been running and hiding from for a long time in life, maybe even all of my life. VULNERABILITY!! I like to talk and have no problem expressing how I feel but at no time in my life have I ever expressed myself like this. My fears, my weaknesses, my pain, my confusion, my worries, my sadness is the topic of discussion ever day without even thinking and to stranger even. Hell, I’m writing a blog for more strangers to come into this dark room I’m in.

I am an extrovert. I love people and people love me. I’m always the life of the party and have all the jokes. I love to host and make everyone around me feel important, loved, and appreciated. In my friend group I am the strong friend. I’m the sound mind, advice giver and problem solver. This here Corona and quarantine has stripped me of all of my badges. Every! Single! One! I have had to lean on everyone more that I ever have before. The first few weeks I kept putting on my strong face but when I got the call that my grandmother tested positive for the virus I took one hand off the wheel. When I got the call that that she was in hospice care I took the other hand off. Then watching my dad, who I am very close with and miss most of all cry for his mom over Facetime, Jesus had to take the wheel because I jumped out of the car.

I jumped out of the car to run into my dark room (literally). I stayed in bed crying for days uncontrollably. I would get up, cry in the shower, cry on my way to work, tears welled up in my eyes at work, while running errands, and then back to my dark room. I was so afraid of the darkness. I hadn’t been here before. I had been at the door but when I had my hand on the door knob I found some kind of strength, distraction, to keep me from opening that door. With no strength left and absolutely no distractions the dark room was inevitable and I went in.

A beautiful thing happened in there. Everyone came in with me. It was scary though. You ever been in a dark room and have voices speaking out to you? SCARY!! Though they were familiar voices, I couldn’t see them and I didn’t understand the language. They were speaking strength, encouragement, understanding, empathy, wisdom and love to me. I was so used to being the one speaking all of those things into everyone else that I didn’t recognize it for myself. They didn’t turn the light on, just kept speaking so much love and life into me and finally after being in the dark for the third day, I was strong enough to turn the light on and see all the people who were in the room with me. In the dark with me. They didn’t turn my light on and pull me out (like I have done to so many of my friends) they just poured into me until I could do it myself and it was a moment I will never forget.

I’m coming out of my dark room more vulnerable than ever but stronger. I’m the even stronger friend because I now understand the receiving end of friendships. Coming from the strong friend, we are always the givers. Never taking, never asking, and when we need to, we figure it out alone and turn right around and give more advice and encouragement for fighting and winning our silent battle that we didn’t want to bother our friends with. We are no stranger to our friends dark rooms but the room with our names on it, we don’t tell our friends about and they don’t even know where it is. We talk about it but you can’t go there with us.

I finally see how much of a taker I was. I took away the opportunity for them to be there for me. It was a big thing to take from them. Bigger than dinner on them, bigger than the hug I needed but I said I was ok and told a joke instead, bigger than the check in that I was annoyed with because “I’m ok sis”. Man oh man did the reality hit me hard. I was the biggest taker!

Today I have my eyes opened and to all the strong friends I hope your eyes are open as well. Take what your friends give!!! Be a big taker! You know how to give and you do it effortlessly, with abundance, genuinely, and without any strings. So… SIS TAKE! During these uncertain and crazy times you will need it. Your giving has been stunted because the world is shut down. What you giving? What you hosting? What you buying? Not a damn thing! Take the love, encouragement, wisdom and more and take as much as you need to get through this. Be strong and stay strong my friend but also recognize and celebrate all the strength around you as well.

Written by: Alyssa Boyd
Alyssa is a mom, writer, podcaster, and lover of all food (she also happens to be an avid listener, zoom call joiner, and lover of Fun Time Moms). “The truth will set you free” is the motto for her life and she loves encouraging women by speaking her truth fearlessly and with love.