Thursday, September 01, 2016

The price of strength

The main cast of Supergirl, circa the show's first season, which aired on CBS from 2015-2016.
An hour ago, I was lying in bed with a fever. I felt totally weak and I didn’t have any energy to fix something for myself, much less my two golden retrievers. I really needed help. I honestly don’t mind skipping dinner if I have to, but I so didn’t want Cheesestick and Muffin to go hungry on my account. So I swallowed my pride and texted my grandmother for help. I asked if she could spare the day maid she hired to help her take care of my mother, even for just a couple of hours. I just needed someone to help me make dinner for me and my furkids.

Long story short, my grandmother said no, and I was left to ponder my predicament. Eventually I went on Facebook and Twitter to look for someone who might be willing to help me. But seeing everyone’s posts only made me feel even more alone and frustrated.

Before my mother suffered a stroke last June 2, and before my Filipino-British parabatai (more on what that means in a future post) Tim Macardle returned to his hometown of Norwich earlier this year, I would’ve been able to ask them for help. But my mother is in recovery and Tim is thousands of miles away, a distance made easier but no less painful by social media. My other friends are busy with their own lives. Some are en route to New York City for ASAP, others are shooting or taping, and the non-showbiz ones are taking care of their own families. Even if they want to help—and I’m sure they do—they may not be able to, and I don’t blame them for that.

As the minutes ticked by, my frustration and loneliness morphed into anger. Not at anyone in particular, mind you; just at the situation I was in. Eventually I tossed my phone aside and used my emotions to propel myself out of bed. I slowly made my way downstairs and into the kitchen. (OK, I tripped and fell down the last couple of steps, but at least I made it, right?)

Despite the fact that my forehead was beaded with sweat and I was standing on two shaky legs, I managed to feed my dogs and fix myself a plate of rice and Libby's vienna sausage. Now, buoyed by a full stomach and the sweet sounds of Britney Spears’s new album Glory, I’m in front of my laptop, writing this post. Having eaten their fill of dog food and Purefoods sisig, Cheesestick and Muffin are curled up on either side of me.

In the months since my mother’s stroke, I’ve been told by many that they’re very proud of me for making the best of my situation. At first, that made me really happy. After all, I took over running the house in my mother’s absence because I wanted her to be able to focus on her recovery, and I’d like to think I’ve done a good job despite my mental illness. But to be honest, today I realized that being strong comes with a price.  

When you go through life like a superhero, people forget that you also need help sometimes. For the most part, I’m self-sufficient now and I'm proud of that. But not even superheroes can do it all by themselves all the time. On the TV show Supergirl, Kara Danvers is backed by the Department of Extranormal Operations, as well as her CatCo boss Cat Grant and her friends James Olsen and Winn Schott, Jr. The truth is, I need my own DEO, Cat, James and Winn, and no, I don't think I should be judged for admitting that I do.

To paraphrase an obscure pop song about the Girl of Steel back in the day, I don’t mind being Supergirl, as I do relish being able to save the day when I have to. In fact, I’m looking forward to the day that my mother is well enough to come back home so I can do more for her.

But the question still remains: who’s going to save me when I’m the one who needs saving?

Photo courtesy of Movieweb.

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