I'm not a good crier. I get really embarrassed when tears start falling and I feel ashamed and weak. When I was growing up, my tears always fueled my mom's drunken rage. As an adult, I believe that I should show no weakness. I have to be tough. I have to get up every day and do the things that keep my life afloat. I don't have time to cry over boys, bad decisions, money, or feelings. In fact, I really don't even have time for feelings. I shove them to the side and just keep trucking along.
Yesterday my boss hurt my feelings and then I got a text message that upset me and then I spent half an hour in the bathroom at work, sobbing. There was snot and there were crocodile tears and I couldn't get them to stop. I lost control and I was actually afraid for a moment that I would be stuck in the bathroom until 5 p.m. when everyone left for the day. I stood there feeling a blinding rage, directed toward myself, for showing the people I work with that side of me. I felt shame for being weak.
Instead of thinking of what I could do differently to not get yelled at by my boss or to handle conversations that upset me, all I could think of was how to change my emotions. That is fucking ridiculous.
Let me say it differently.
Emotions are normal. I don't need to change the way I feel. I need to change the way I view my feelings.
I should not be afraid to cry. In fact, I think that if I was willing to cry more often over the things that are really bothering me, then maybe I would not have lost my marbles over something so small yesterday. I should embrace the fact that I have finally reached the age where I cry over things instead of getting into fights and acting like a little hood rat.
Why is it that crying is looked upon as weakness? Why isn't it okay to feel sad? Doesn't everyone experience sadness from time to time? Don't we all have stress? I can't imagine that there is one single human on the planet who doesn't have anything weighing them down and occupying their mind. We all have something that we can't seem to get ahead of or get around. And what do we do? We push through. We just keep going. We maybe talk about it in therapy or bitch about it to our friends, but we never just sit with that feeling and allow it to absorb us. We don't have time because we are too busy trying not to let anyone in on the fact that we are feeling, very deeply.
I feel like we have probably all been in the same boat. If we shared our emotions more freely, we would find that more people can relate to us than we anticipated, but for some reason we don't. We don't want anyone to know us that way. I realized yesterday that I don't need to work on changing my emotions, I need to work on my reaction to them. But how do I do that? Do I journal? Do I pause? Do I ramble endlessly to my friends about the things that are bothering me? Maybe I need therapy? I wish that I had the solution.
I have written before about toxic masculinity but yesterday I realized that it is not only men who deal with the silencing of their feelings. We, all humans, have been conditioned to silence ourselves. We, all of us, have an obligation to do better for ourselves and for our kids. I don't want my sons to cry for half an hour in the bathroom at work and then spend the rest of the day bathed in shame over it.