Yesterday I wrote a top 10 (that became 11) list of things I hate hearing. There is actually one more, but it deserves it’s own post.

The absolute worst thing anyone can say to me is “be strong” or “you are so strong.” I am not strong. The fact that I don’t break down at any given moment is not due to my “strength.” No one knows what’s going through my head, and what I’m thinking or feeling.

I’m not in denial in any way. I know what’s going on. But when tumor #2 happened, and especially #3 (The Paralyzer), I developed a mechanism that, to this day, makes me feel guilty. I basically remove myself from the situation and almost “pretend” that it’s not my mom that I’m looking at.

Sometimes I accidentally switch the off button, like last week, which caused me to cry for 4 days straight (to the point where I didn’t even go to my ballet and lyrical classes, and anyone who knows me knows that I don’t skip those EVER).

It’s a double-edged sword. Either I fall apart (read: not strong), or I pretend that what’s happening is unrelated to me (read: not strong, just chicken, with a dollop of guilt).

This is the only way I get through my days, and especially the hospital visits. Seeing what’s become of my mom, in no time, is too terrible to be able to deal with if I wouldn’t pretend. Especially since none of this should have been happening for at least another 30 years.

Silence does not equal strength. Silence is just silence, at least in my case.