I started this Wednesday evening, but found my mind to be wandering, and several of my friends in need of conversation. I took it as a sign that I needed to sit on it for a minute. Now on Thursday at almost 2pm I’m sitting down with it again.
After the stress I’ve been under, and the fact that it was easing up a little bit – and with the thought also in my mind that I felt like I was coming down with a head cold – I took my ass to bed at 930 Tuesday night.
Only to lay there for an hour and almost fall asleep and then wake back up. I laid there for a moment, wondering if I should get up, and then heard Meeha’s nails – click, click, click – on the hallway floor outside my room, back and forth, back and forth. I swore I had locked her in her cage.
I got up to let her out, and sat down outside to smoke a cigarette. I opened Facebook and saw that someone I’ve been worried about had reacted to photos of me and the boys from the weekend.
Relief swept over me at the interaction from this person, and I sent a quick message in response.
I finished my cigarette and went inside to take some melatonin and motrin to try and ease me into sleep. Meeha had run into my room and stood by my bed, begging me with her eyes to let her sleep with me.
So I swept the little dog up, set her on the bed and crawled beneath the covers myself, turning off the bedside light. I flipped over onto my stomach, and Meeha curled up on the pillow next to me near my head.
Let’s get into today’s quote before I continue further:
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.” – Washington Irving
I talk about how I am able to cry openly at concerts, and after what I’m about to say in this post, I’m sure that’s going to seem awful puzzling. Let me try to explain this a little bit. At almost every concert I’ve attended I’ve cried. Music transports me, brings out feelings so strong I can’t escape them – even in a room full of people. I also don’t feel like I’m in a room full of people, either. I am so involved in the show and the physical feeling of the music and the emotional aspects that it brings about, I wouldn’t be able to tell you a thing about the person standing next to me, much less notice everyone else that is there with me. Music is very personal for me, so I suppose that explains a lot about how a live show where they play a song that has deep meaning to me can bring about tears that I wouldn’t dare cry in front of one person alone in a room.
Once upon a time, I didn’t allow myself to cry, except on rare occasions. Often times it would be months between the times I would cry, and then I would only allow a couple minutes to indulge in the release before jumping back into my crazy, hectic life. I always told myself that crying didn’t solve a damn thing, all it did was take up valuable time, and make my eyes itchy. The whole red rimmed eye thing isn’t a favorable look for me, either.
Near the beginning of this year, I found that mindset easing up a little. I found myself more willing to cry, and a relief in releasing the tensions from life in that fashion. I’ve always had to be a badass, and even when I was by myself I didn’t want to relinquish that title. I’m hard and I’m tough. Big girls don’t cry. Nothing phases me. The whole deal.
Over the last little while though, I’ve found this quote to be absolutely the truth, which is why I was surprised when I came across it in the book. I can promise you that even though I cry more often now than I have since I was a kid, I don’t cry over little shit. It’s the big shit. It’s the shit that I feel strongly about, it’s the shit that tears my world apart, it’s the shit that makes me realize how fleeting our time on this earth is, and how little time we get with those that we love. I’ve come to the realization that crying doesn’t make you weak, and that is especially true if you are willing to show that vulnerability to someone else.
It was definitely a personal rule to not cry in front of anyone. But as I come to terms with this whole embracing feelings bit, I realize that sometimes it’s unavoidable. To show someone that side of me, the side that hardly anyone has seen . . . that takes trust. And it takes strength. It takes a level of badassery that I have previously never engaged in. I have to trust that the person who is witnessing me so vulnerable isn’t going to use my tears against me, isn’t going to use the fact that I am indeed human against me. Someone I think isn’t going anywhere. I’ve been wrong. . . I trusted people enough to cry in front of them many times, and many times they have left. But embracing feelings and showing vulnerability, even if that level of trust is in error, takes strength. And while I was hurt by them walking away, it made me stronger, and made me realize – holy shit. Someone can see me at my weakest, turn around and walk away . . . and I’m just fucking fine. The world didn’t end because I let them see my human side.
Crying is a way of healing I’ve realized, too. I’ve done my share of it over the last couple of months. I still try to resist crying some, but I’ve found if I allow myself that moment to grieve it clears my head some and makes me feel stronger again somehow. I find strength in my own vulnerability, by admitting to myself that I’m sad about something. I realize that even though I have dealt with so much pain, so much loss, that I can cry until I’m breathless and then go make my kids dinner like nothing happened. . . y’all, that’s strength.
It is indeed a form of strength, because admitting to yourself that you are bothered enough to emotionally break that way isn’t easy. Shaking off the badass facade is hard work when you’ve had to be a badass your entire life. Big spoiler here, folks – you can be a badass and still cry. Because only a badass allows themselves to be close enough to someone to love them, and only a badass can admit that they were hurt. Being true to yourself is one of the most badass things I’ve ever seen. And every time I admit that I feel and I love and I am in fact human. . . I feel stronger. Because in loving someone, being hurt by them, and continuing to move forward . . . it shows that I can overcome the shitstorms life throws at me. That there is nothing and no one that can drag me down.
And so, as I lay there in my dark room Tuesday evening, I allowed the tears to form and allowed them to come. I had been worried and stressed, I had overcome a fuckton of obstacles over the last several days. I’ve spent the last two months knocking out some goals and aspirations that I’ve wanted to achieve for over twenty years. I’ve been fighting my demons and admitting to myself where personal growth was needed. I’ve been revisiting my past and coming to terms with some shit that I had refused to even acknowledge actually happened. I’ve allowed myself to cry some over the hurt I have experienced. Short bursts of emotion that squared my shoulders and allowed me to keep pushing forward. I will never say that I’m done growing, because as a human that isn’t possible. It’s a thing that just doesn’t stop, there isn’t a point that a person can reach where they ‘done’ growing. But in acknowledging the things that haunt my subconscious, I can let go of it and move forward. It’s a very personal journey, and not one that can be shared with anyone else. You have to overcome your demons on your own. After all, they’re your demons, no one elses.
So I allowed the tears to come, out of relief for where I’m at in life. Out of relief that I am the person that I am. That I can be vulnerable and soft, and still be a badass. That in being vulnerable and soft I am growing stronger and more sure of myself. A lot of the self-consciousness that I have felt my entire life is lifting.
Don’t be afraid to be human. Don’t be afraid to love, just because sometimes it hurts. Don’t be afraid to make yourself vulnerable, thinking that it makes you weak. Coming from someone who knows what it is to make oneself vulnerable, from someone who has loved deeply and been hurt beyond words. . . tears heal. Tears bring strength. There is strength to be found in the physical release of the hurt. I’ve used the analogy where the burning of a forest makes way for new growth, and sitting down with your sadness and allowing yourself to feel it, allowing those tears to come and overtake you, does the same thing. Release the hurt so you can move past it and grow into someone who is better than you were, stronger than you were, and wiser than you were.