• Leslie Crews

The Burden of Caring


I could paint a picture of the world and give it to you, but you’d never hang it

I could write a song expressing the depth of my emotions for you, but you’d skip it every time

I could choreograph a dance to show my presence, and you’d look the other way

So I’ve built a mirror to reflect the care you’ve shown me, and you’ll see nothing

Then, what will you say?


This is the most I’ve been able to write in months. My brain has been too scrambled to get anything on paper that makes sense. Perhaps this short poem doesn’t make sense either.


I've been broken down. Hurt. Traumatized. And people I deeply love and care for don't care how I’m affected by their behavior. I’m encouraged to talk it out. But it feels like the world is ending, I’m a new mom, and I really don’t have the energy to continuously shuck and jive until someone sees my value. I’ve done that for most of my life. My battery is empty. Forgive me for ending the monotony.


As simple as it seems, there’s depth in understanding that people treat you how they want to treat you. If they are comfortable with how they treat others, they’ll likely never see their behavior towards you as mistreatment; even after you’ve tried [exhaustively] to explain it to them. So, you deal with what you’re given, accept that “this is just how they are” and keep taking it for the sake of not causing stress or disturbing the peace. But when you’re up at 3 a.m. wondering what you did to deserve the mistreatment, it’s anything but peaceful.


The burden of fixing [anything] falls on the shoulders of the ones that are most affected.


I don’t want to deal with the mental load of telling people how they hurt me. I’d rather optimistically observe their behaviors.


Just thinking of potential conversations is anxiety evoking for me. I’m emotional. My attempts at being understood turns into me sobbing and begging to be seen. Begging for care to be reciprocated. I’m vulnerable, open, and honest. And the ones who hurt me are never open to hearing my perspective and don’t consider my feelings in their response. Warmest is met with anger and coldness. The therapy hours stack up.


Further trauma happens in rehashing painful experiences. I put a lot of effort into navigating emotional land mines to avoid hurting peoples feelings, even when I’m hurt. It hurts to be thoughtful in expressing my love for someone and still feel completely ignored or misunderstood.