How to be strong when everything is falling apart?
I’m the eldest sister in a single mother household. Since I was 9, I already knew that I was not just a daughter anymore. I was the second parent to my siblings, the support ‘system’ of my mom, and somehow also a daughter, student, friend…
This has not been easy, and as a child I never really fully understood what my “role” was; all I know is had to do what I had to do. Even if I had no idea how to fix the problem, I’d listen to my mom rant about financial problems, my siblings, even office problems. This led me to think that I have to be strong for everyone, and I have to be strong for me. More often than not, I always faced problems on my own for how can you even tell your mom about your petty problems such as bullies when she’s worrying about where she’ll get the money to pay for rent and tuition fees? All my problems seem very little compared to what she’s going through.
Right now, one of my siblings is facing a rough patch in my life. My mom, try as she might to face all our problems, is falling apart. She keeps on saying how she cannot handle anymore stress and how confused she is as to why my sister would end up being as rebellious as she is. She’s given everything, the best education and the best life within her means, and yet my sister ends up wasting everything. If I’m going to be completely honest, I’m tired of hearing about my sister especially since I have a lot of stuff going on in my life too. But the thing with big sisters is that you cannot stop just because you’re tired, because who will keep my mother company when she’s falling apart? And I know that when everything is alright with the house, I will get the strength I need to do what I have to do in order to face my problems too.
It’s a cycle: I am their strength, and they are mine. I understand that for me to be strong, I have to be strong for them in order to maintain a harmonious family relationship. More than that, I have to be strong so that our family won’t fall apart. It’s a vicious cycle, but it’s something I cannot control but I must overcome. This has been the theme of my life these days, to overcome. I always say it’s difficult, but I also say that it’s worth it. You don’t give up on your family, not even when it’s hard. As a big sister, that carries even more weight because you have younger siblings to worry about. Life has to keep going, and as they say, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I know these challenges are preparing me for something big, something great, that my will is tested at this very moment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m at the end of my wits and I’m emotionally drained everyday, but I keep going. Not just for me, but for the people I love.
And again, as always, I must overcome.