People release emotions several different ways. In the past, I was a victim of the Ben & Jerry’s eat-a-pint-of-ice-cream emotional release. My favorite form of energy release these days has become exercise; cross training with heavy Olympics lifts, high intensity “WODS”, swimming, hot yoga, a little boxing and dog time at the river. Have my days become a little obsessive? Maybe. But learning to tame my emotions have been a struggle my entire life, and something I am well aware I must work on. Better exercise than food…
One form of release I know I need to work on is allowing myself to cry more often. A few years back, after mom passed away, I allowed myself the opportunity to cry ALL. THE. TIME. As time has passed, I find myself making excuses as to why crying is not acceptable; move on, life goes on, suck it up, no one wants to deal with your crying, including myself. The fear of never stopping the flow of tears is very real, and the thought that my puffy eyes will be a dead give-away and someone will take pity on me is also not super appealing.
A few weeks ago I had an experience that has brought back my pro-crying mentality. I was sitting on our loveseat with my computer in my lap and Ryan was on the couch with his computer in his lap. (Very romantic, I know. It’s quite difficult living with two career driven individuals under one roof, but I digress.) We were both working on separate projects, but for whatever reason, the television was on, and National Geographic was airing a program about amazing animals. Instantly I knew the show was going to be a tear jerker and I asked Ryan to turn the television off. He didn’t…
The program continued with a story about a dog and an elephant who had become more-than-amazing friends while living on a sanctuary together. The story wasn’t even sad to begin with, but I felt the know growing in my throat. After the time I spent in Thailand, I have amazing respect and a soft spot in my heart for elephants. Not to mention I treat my dogs as children.
Being slightly jaded by life, I blurted out “what is the elephant going to do when the dog dies? Elephants live forever!” Ryan looked up at me in disbelief. Was that all I was getting out of this story?
The program continued to tell how the dog had broken her back out in a pasture and how the elephant had guarded the dog until the owners of the sanctuary arrived to save the dog. How the elephant wouldn’t leave the spot where the dog was hurt until the dog returned. And once the dog was better, how the elephant caressed the dog’s back with its trunk. Seriously, talk about tugging the heart strings!
Just when I thought I had survived, and the story was over, the narrator of the program decided to add a follow-up (which as far as I was concerned, he could have kept to himself). After the story was filmed, the dog had been mauled by coyotes and passed away. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
The waterworks started. The ugly-cry I had been keeping deep inside my gut erupted to the surface and I became a complete basket case. So much so, I was forced to retreat to the bathroom and take a long hot shower while I cried…and cried…and cried. Obviously after several minutes of crying, I was no longer grieving the dog and the elephant; I had progressed on to my own real-life issues and grief I had been suppressing. Then it dawned on me; I had made it through the anniversary of my mom’s passing, my birthday and my mom’s birthday without shedding a single tear. “Not healthy, little missy” my mom would have said.
Although that particular cry-fest was a bit traumatic, I sure felt fantastic when it was over. A tension in my chest and gut that I hadn’t realized had developed was now gone. My fear of the tears never ending was subsided and I was only forced to deal with a little sympathy, which was actually quite comforting.
What is it about our thought processes and society that makes us feel the act of crying is weak? Do yourself a favor and let out a good cry once in a while.