When Superwoman Takes Off Her Cape

I used to be superwoman. And I was good at it, too. I vanquished enemies without breaking a sweat, saved every day that needed to be saved–even when the days were not mine and my herioc deeds were not appreciated, let alone welcomed.

Whatever happened, I could pull myself together to make the best of it. I could push my emotions down into a hole so deep so fast that I never even knew what they felt like. I could swallow my tears and anger and disappointment so smoothly that nobody ever knew how lonely, frustrated, scared, and angry I was. I leaped problems in a single bound, landing on broken promises and hurt feelings and delayed dreams screaming maniacally, “It will be fine! Everything is just fine! God will make a way!” even when nothing was fine and God had made a way that others had failed to take, forcing me to figure out a new way. I would keep pushing and pushing and pushing until my soul collapsed, caught off guard by sudden hysterical tears and an unquenchable desire to punch a wall every day of my life.

Then one day, someone near and dear to me hit me in the face with words dipped in so much contempt and hatefulness that it felt like shrapnel raining down on me:

┬ánobody asked you… super hero… super woman… super Christian…

So I put down my cape. I took it off and burned it. Because he was mean (I knew he meant to just hurt my feelings)–BUT HE WAS RIGHT. Nobody asked me.

And now, when people do ask, I shrug my shoulders and say, “Nope.” I no longer take on the burdens of others; I am the only burden I carry. If I am fine, then it’s okay. If I am not fine, then I go somewhere and cry and scream and think until I am fine again.

If I cannot do what I am getting ready to do purely out of love, I do not do it. Not even on my job. Defintely not at home. All the way down to cooking dinner. There is no more “I have to” in my spirit. The only thing I owe anybody is to love them. When I took off that mental cape, I took off the obligation of being everybody’s personal savior.

The reviews have been mixed. In some cases, the resentment towards me being a “super woman” has turned into resentment because I am no longer a convenient shoulder to lean on. In other cases, people appreciate me more because I value myself enough to say Nawl. In every case, I am satisfied with the decisions that I make┬áto reach out (or not) because I choose to not bear the weight of “have to”.

If you are someone who is suffering from carrying the weight of everybody else’s worlds on your shoulders, I challenge you to drop that cape into the fires of Mordor before you fall prey to being used up and spit out. Love yourself enough to know which battles are yours, which crosses you actually need to carry. You will find that most of the time, you should just walk away, preserving your peace of mind and your powers for another day.

2 Comments

  1. I’m exhausted from trying to fix my problems and everyone else’s problems without ever being asked to do so. I take responsibility for their possible reactions to any given situation and try to adjust my behavior to what I anticipate. I’m trying to stop but that’s hard to do as well. How did you burn your cape without dragging it out of the fire?

    1. I am a math nerd and teacher, so I actually researched a tool that I used to get myself together. It is called important versus urgent. The website http://www.readytoevolve.com/blog/2009/09/whats-important-is-most-urgent.html has a great graphic. Basically, I categorized everything in my life like this chart said. Then I governed myself accordingly. What I found was that I was stressing over stuff that wasn’t even that serious.

      Many times, people will make you feel like something is super urgent and super important when it is NOT. You must know what is important in your life and stop letting folks stress you out with THEIR issues. Folks want you to stress WITH them, not you help them. Even if you solved every problem they had, they would look for something else to have a problem with.

      If you start here, you can eliminate the guilt of saying no because you do not feel pressure to take care of someone else’s problems. Then, you continuously measure your stress level: like what is causing you the most stress? Is it people or is it YOU stressing yourself about other people?

      I was definitely the LATTER. Once I disengaged I found peace. Then it became easier to say nope.

      Sometimes, you gotta let your loved ones fail. Flat out.

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