Big Girls Do Cry
Yesterday, after reading my first post, my lifelong best friend called me and began to cry because she said that she felt awful that I was feeling the way I did. Interestingly, my first reaction was to tell her to stop and beg her not to cry. I was not writing to make people cry. I created this blog to keep me from crying. But then I began to think about my reaction. Who am I to tell someone not to cry if they feel sad or sorry for me or anyone for that matter? Crying is a release of emotion. My God, that’s part of the reason I am in the position I am in today.
I had been told my whole life not to cry, to be strong and that I cried over silly things because I was overly sentimental. I can remember my father balking at me as I cried at the series finale of Family Ties, as the cast came out to bid farewell to all of their fans. I loved that show as a teenager and this was a loss to me, albeit a small one in the realm of my life now. None the less, I was sad. I was touched by their emotional goodbyes, and yet, I was told I was being ridiculous. Why? I suppose it is because crying makes people uncomfortable. We are all programmed to make people feel better, to fix people, and if we can’t as humans help someone to feel better, we see ourselves as failures.
As an adult I used to boast that I was not a “crier.” I was tough and there was not one person to whom I was going to expose that perceived weakness. Instead of crying when I was hurt, I got angry. I yelled, I screamed, I threw stuff, hurled horrible insults in efforts to inflict more pain on the people I loved to prevent them from seeing how much I was hurting within myself. I mastered this at a young age I am extremely ashamed to say. But it is amazing what we are programmed to do as children. It is amazing what defense mechanisms kick in when you feel threatened and are in fear of having your vulnerabilities exposed.
People who truly did not know me would never believe I had this dark side, this deep pit of hurt, because to the outside world, I walked around like Buddy The Elf, smiling all the time. And do you know what? Most times I felt completely fraudulent and continued to dislike myself even more. So when I walked into my counselor’s office 3 weeks ago, crying more than I spoke, it was a complete shock to me. Where was all this emotion coming from? She told me I was “raw” with pain that has not been dealt with for years. Very possible, I thought, and at that very moment, I made a commitment to myself that I would see it through. I would work through this pain, no matter how scary, no matter how difficult because I never again wanted to feel like this.
So to my very best friend, I am sorry I tried to stifle your tears. I love you for shedding them for me and for my pain. I will try my damndest never to tell someone not to cry ever again for it is only through grief can we begin to heal.