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Stories from the Strong

We hope that the stories, experiences, advice, lessons learned,

or messages of solidarity and hope shared below, from our community,

will help raise awareness and show everyone that they are not alone.

Every story is worth sharing when it comes to ending the stigma. #EndtheStigma

Accept Yourself

July 2021

Phew, we made it.

Life is starting to open back up, streets are busier, kids are outside with friends playing in sprinklers. It feels like my perception of "normal" is coming back. But I was a bit of an introvert before COVID, and now I am not really thrilled about "people". Attending school sporting functions, community events and get togethers has never really been my cup of tea. I prefer horses, animals, the outdoors, a good long run, and no people. My kids, however, are socialites!

I can be seen standing in the crowd of parents cheering their kids on, smiling enough, and providing words of encouragement to all that pass by. But I am uncomfortable, I cannot wait to go home, to the quiet house, a peaceful backyard. Sometimes when I look around at these events, I think to myself that I must be the worst mom in the world. Everyone always looks like they are having so much fun, and I never am. Don't get me wrong, I love watching my kids, but I also love being alone.

I suffer in silence and provide nothing but the appropriate responses, waving enthusiastically at them as they yell for me. I go through each motion. But I don't fit in, I am the oddball, the quiet one, and it’s oh so fine. The moral of my story is that you don't have to look like anyone else, family time is different everywhere you go, and there is plenty of fun to be had in ones’ backyard. Making sure your kids feel supported and have plenty of opportunities for friendships is important; so is taking the time to be comfortable with yourself, by yourself. And if you prefer the latter, you’re not alone. I think the lesson is to find a balance, keep your cup full, and remember growth is uncomfortable. I'll never have the lawn chair at the baseball game surrounded by friends, but I'll be cheering from the tailgate up on the hill, by myself, happy.

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