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May 12, 2014

Lisa Madras: You know, counting my weaknesses is a strength of mine

NEW CASTLE — Why are we so afraid to admit our weaknesses?

My list of weaknesses is long and varied. I'll be the first to tell you that I have a weakness for food, for shopping, for pretty lies told by pretty men. But those are all sort of superficial weaknesses, aren't they?

Anybody you meet would probably tell you what their surface weaknesses are, after all. Nobody is ashamed to admit the quirky little things that make us who we are.

It's the things that lie further beneath the surface that we tuck safely away from prying eyes — secrets that tell too much about ourselves,  classified information that would expose our true selves. I think the piece of myself that I constantly try to keep hidden is that I really can't do it all, all the time. I've worked so long and so hard to build a mask of strength that I feel as though I'd be exposing myself as a fraud if I ever broke down and said, "OK, enough is enough. I'm done."

But that's exactly what I'm doing today, and I guess that's why I thought this would be a good question for today's blog. In fact, when I'm done with this blog and my shift at work today, I'm crawling into bed and I'm not coming out until I'm good and ready. My kids will have to entertain themselves for the evening. My friends will have to accept that their calls are going straight to voicemail. I will not shower tonight, nor will I brush my teeth.

In fact, I might not even put my jammies on. I might just crawl into bed with my clothes on. Because enough is enough. I'm done.

In the last 48 hours, I have gone to work, cared for my kids, finished up finals week at school, and taken care of the house. In between those things, I've put up with an ear infection, thrown up on myself, and coughed so hard that I've peed my pants three times. I can't breathe, my back is stuck in a permanent spasm, and I'm so high on cold medicine and muscle relaxants that I'm not entirely sure I could spell my own name if you asked me. (Can't wait to see those finals grades, too!)

The worst part of is it, I take some sort of perverse pleasure in knowing that a weaker human being would have taken to bed two days ago. Not me, no sir-ee! I'm tougher than that. I can DO IT ALL!

At least that's what I want everyone to believe.

And then I got to thinking, as one tends to do when their inhibitions are down due to a potent and somewhat enjoyable cocktail of over-the-counter medications. What would I tell a friend if she was trying to pull off the same ridiculous Super Woman routine that I'm trying to pull off? I'd tell her to go straight to bed. Do not pass go. Do not collect your superstar of the year award. You're human, and you deserve to treat yourself as such. And by the way, nobody like a martyr.

So why are we afraid to admit our weaknesses? Aren't they really the things that make us human? Our imperfections are what make us just like everybody else. I don't honestly know one other person who tries to pretend that they don't have a breaking point, so why do I do that to myself?

I don't know what other people's secret weaknesses are, but I do know that we all have them. And by keeping them hidden, we miss a real opportunity to share our realness with each other. We all have doubts and uncertainties and things that make us feel "less than." So hiding our weaknesses only serves to make us seem different from the norm, and it doesn't help us build connections with our fellow humans. 

That said, I just don't feel like I have anything left in me to contribute more to this blog. (See how I admitted that? Huh? Huh?) I'm taking my broken down self to bed. Share your weaknesses amongst yourselves, and I'll see you next week!

 

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