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I grew up trying to be strong; physically and mentally — from boxing with my brothers, to internalizing painful situations. Caring for others in a deep way can be frightening, but it’s a fear that I wish to overcome.
A couple years ago, my mom’s boyfriend hit a ground ball in my direction. Instead of rolling into my glove, the ball sprang up from the grass line, and crushed against my skull. While icing my black eye, my mom smiled at me. “Hey, at least you didn’t cry. I’m proud of you.”
This toughness affects my social life too. That’s where problems arise.
Sometimes I alienate people close to me. One time, my cousin upset me, so I cut all connections with him. Even though he was going through personal struggles, I was unsympathetic. I was too prideful to say sorry.
By being tough, I lose support and a network of family members to go to. I expect that always having my guard up will damage my relationships with co-workers or significant other in the future.
I want to project a more caring persona, but it’ll take time to balance both sides of myself.