I am a middle child. What that means is I learnt early on how to be the ‘glue’ the mediator, the fixer, the anchor.

I thought of myself as a sponge with a huge ability to soak up and soak in, even a flood, to make sure that while I dripped, everyone was dry and comfortable- that was my mission, and I filled that role with so much pride.

I quickly became the anchor, holding everyone down. Calming storms, even storms that raged in me. I learnt to be strong and hold out strength for my loved ones.

This extended beyond my family, to my friends and even to acquaintances. I could have a full plate, full and running over and still make room for another person’s burden. To carry it like it were mine.

I realized then that I do not have the empathy of the average person.

My empathy and compassion is above the normal and that explains why even with a full plate or dealing with my own enormous battles I still had a listening ear, a praying heart and open hands towards those who came to me.

That ability to walk a mile in your shoes, and feel another’s pain brought out tons and tons of selflessness- and what was my expectation?

I expected to be cared for in similar or same fashion. To have someone or those whom I had been strong for, be strong for me in my weakness.

My weak days are always masked in strength and hardly did I reveal any storms I was enduring. But not to say, I was not weak or not overwhelmed- I just did not show it.

But one day my strength was not strong enough to hold me and I was caving in. It was then that I expected everyone whom I had been strong for, to surround me and lift me just like I had lifted them?

Where was the friend I spent hours counseling?
Where was the friend I prayed with time and time again for their dad’s healing?
Where was the friend I sacrificially gave to, for their children birthday and school needs
Where was the friend who anchored on me during their darkness hours
Where was the friend I mourned with when they encountered grief?
Where was the friend who came running to me when their mother was sick and without money for the hospital

I said to myself, it cannot be- how can I be weak alone? So like a drug addict I searched ferociously for am anchor, a Reed, something just something to help me at my breaking point. There was NO ONE. SILENCE. NO ONE.

I fell to my knees, I cried, I panicked- it was a full blown panic attack of years of holding the calm for everyone. Years of being the strong one. I gave up and allowed my weakness and my fears rock me and after a moment some calm returned.

In my calmness I had the most awakening realization I have ever had in a long time. I realized that I am the anchor for so many but lacking an anchor in my weakest times.

I realized that there are not many people with a heart like mine.

I realized that just because you care for someone does not mean they will care for you in return

I realized that my expectations were off the chart and I needed to recalibrate

I realized that a person could reach the tipping end and even those around them will be so blind to see and yet will say, ” Say something if you are depressed “

I realized that God is honestly and truly my surest anchor.

So, after Reflections come decisions. I decided by the Grace of God that 2021 will be my year of NO.

No I cannot be your anchor
No I cannot bear that burden
No I will not be your muse, your shrink or your counselor
No I am not available for your rant

I will take care of me.