Take off the cape.

Lindsay Recknell Hope, Mental Health Leave a Comment

I started to write a very different blog post for you today. One about doing hard things. Which I will write about because it’s a good topic, trust me 😊 But something else really resonated with me and I wanted to share it with you in case it resonated too.

Today, a friend of mine told me that it’s okay to take off the cape.

That it’s okay to rest and sink into the normal overwhelm that happens every once in a while. That to be human is to be vulnerable and ask for help when it matters.

He also shared a quote, something along the lines of “a good quality in a leader is knowing when to ask for help.”

I can (and do!) ask for help professionally. It’s the personal asks for help I struggle with.

It’s related to vulnerability for sure (thanks Brene Brown!) and the Anatomy of Trust (another Brene Brown delight) but also a desire for perfection and superhero complex.

My friend said it’s nice to know I’m human 😊 And that my response didn’t surprise him, knowing my strength and independence, which I appreciated but was also bothered by. I internalized that to mean I’m perceived as unapproachable, not bothered by regular life things and couldn’t possibly relate to feelings of sadness, loneliness and feeling not quite good enough.

Here’s a secret…I can, and I do.

I feel lonely and sad. I get exhausted from carrying the burdens I feel like I need to carry, even though I know I should put them down. I relate to the feelings of personal inadequacy and the guilt of not meeting other people’s expectations, let alone my own, because I feel them all the time. Same as you.

My defense mechanism is to “buck it up, buttercup” and present a tough front when really I want to curl up into a ball and rock myself to sleep. I have to imagine that you feel the need for rocking sometimes too because to feel is to be human, even if we don’t talk about it all the time.

Sometimes, I’m going to take off the cape.

Not all the time because sometimes, it’s the proverbial cape that keeps me strong, moving through the hard things to the other side. Sometimes it’s the imagery of the cape that’s protecting me from hurt or pain and shielding me from perceived mortal enemies.

But I recognize the relief that comes from taking off the cape too, the lightness in my shoulders letting others hold my cape for a while, supporting and carrying me for a bit. In the heat of the battle, so to speak, I don’t always remember that taking it off is even an option, but reminders like this one from a friend help to keep it top of mind.

So when I ask you to hold my cape, please take it and cherish it and keep it safe and by extension, keep me safe too.

And if you give me the honor, I’ll hold your cape.

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