Learning to Cry

{Learning to Cry}

'If you don't stop crying I will give you something to cry about' - I heard this more than once growing up and I KNOW that lots of you did too.

I remember in 2nd grade falling at recess, the duty helping me up and telling me "not to cry".

I remember crying to my chemistry teacher about the F I got on my first test. With the lack of eye contact and compassion he was silently telling me that crying wasn't acceptable.

Remember 'A League of Their Own'..... there is NO crying in baseball.

We have been taught that crying is bad.

That crying is weak.

That crying is awkward and uncomfortable for all involved.

So I got good, like really good, at not crying. I was a 'suck it up' master. I could push down those feelings and bottle them up. Locked them down, nice and tight.

Looking back, even in my most difficult times, I rarely cried.

Instead I got busy... busy planning and logistically working through whatever 'difficulty' was facing me.

This worked for awhile....

...and then suddenly it didn't work anymore.

I had bottled too much and my body rebelled. It was like, oh hell no girl.... we are not doing this any more...and wham-o.

Panic Attack

And somehow I found Mike, my therapist.

In the first session or two he told me that the best work that we could do together would be through emotion. That we were going to feel all the feelings that had been bottled up. We were going to unlock the emotions.... unlock the tears. 

What a Quack! I remember thinking that this guy was totally nuts.... like totally cray cray. 

Remember, I am master ninja at hiding feelings. I don't cry...I am ridiculously good at NOT crying... and now this whack-o  was telling me to ugly cry all over his office. Ha!

But my panic attack scared me more than the tears so we got to work.

In these sessions I learned some things:

:: that it is healthy to cry

:: that crying is NOT a sign of weakness

:: that vulnerability is harder than master ninja skills to hide feelings

:: that I could actually work through the difficult times by FEELING them (not ignoring)

:: that I never wanted to tell my children to 'stop crying'

:: that I never wanted to make another human feel badly for crying with me

:: that empathy is such a gift to both give and receive

I am still learning. I am still growing. I am still softening. I am still learning to cry.