Support the Strong

Alicia Fanning, staff reporter and photographer

“Stay strong.” That’s what they say when the world around you is crashing. That’s what they say when that’s all you’ve ever been.

The commonly accepted image of strong is a person who doesn’t cry in public.

A person who in the midst of disaster holds their head high and appears to be okay.

A person who is there for everyone else, making sure they’re alright before they take care of themselves.

But what if the the strong aren’t actually always okay?

What if they were allowed to take a moment to break down and be held up by all of the people they support?

What if instead of telling them to stay strong, we asked them if they were okay, and then asked again after they replied with “Of course, I always am”?

By this time you’re probably picturing a person in your life right now. The one that always checks up on you. The one that always gives their time to you. The one that always says they’re having an okay day. That person.

They might be one of the lonliest people. They might be one of the saddest people. Maybe not all the time, but they, too, have their down days. But who’s there to comfort them?

They are so strong perhaps only because they’ve had to learn to be there for themselves because they know no one else will be. They are so strong because they have learned to be alone.

Learned to cry behind closed doors and learned to stand back up without assistance.

So check up on that strong person in your life. They probably just need a shoulder to rest on for a while.