I used to fight tears. I would pinch my arms until I could compartmentalize. Let pain distract from pain until they canceled each other out. I’m not proud of this. It was one of my ways of coping as a child, then as a teenager, and as a young adult I included other harmful methods of coping until I broke through. I found my feelings, or rather, my feelings found me.
As a child I was told I was too sensitive. The words that I remember were, “you take everything to heart.” It was a warning. Guard yourself or you’ll get hurt. And I did. I got hurt. I hurt a lot, but armed with that warning I began to hurt less. Only, I didn’t hurt less. I just held it down twisting its arm to keep quiet.
I’m not sure why I’m writing about this. I’ve been thinking about how we’re so busy, so rushed and how our mental health needs tending to. We forget to look after ourselves and wonder why we’re crying as we’re watching the Amazing Race (okay, that’s probably just me. It’s all that bungee jumping and fighting that they do. I don’t believe I have ever cried at people jumping off ledges, but my tears flowed freely.) Our feelings demand attention. They don’t like to be shelved and ignored. They like to be dusted off now and then.
You can bottle them up. You can hold them back, but feelings will discover the tiniest crack, the smallest chink in your armor and seep out until you buckle under the pressure.
That’s what happened to me. It wasn’t a pleasant experience going from I’m fine to I’m in hell. But it was the best possible hell. The kind of hell you have to go through in order to get to the other side. I’m a better person for it. A person that works through her stuff.
It doesn’t take much for my eyes to well up now. I welcome a cleansing in the privacy of my home cry where my tears stain my face, where my eyes are swollen and my nose is red. Where there is no shame in caring deeply. Where it doesn’t matter if I’m too sensitive. Where I can let go and not be judged…by me.
In Charlotte’s Web
I’m reading it chapter by chapter to Annie. I don’t know if she’s too young for it, but we’re taking it slow. Really slow. We’re only at chapter five and I started the book two months ago. I love this book. It takes me back to my childhood and reminds me of how and why I fell in love with reading.