It’s okay to cry. We can be strong together.

Warning, if you don’t want to read about me being sad, that’s fine, but you’ll want to check out a different post. Don’t worry. I’m not unhealthily sad.

Tonight I felt broken inside. I immediately begin to question and doubt, wondering if it’s okay to feel the way that I do. Is this anger an okay feeling to have? Am I allowed to be sad over something that shouldn’t be painful anymore? Is it normal to be thinking this way? I don’t know if it’s normal, but it’s allowed. We feel the way that we feel. It’s not always something that can be controlled. Sometimes it’s better to let the emotions overwhelm you, feeling everything intensely, living the experience of heartbreak fully instead of burying it deep within. Buried things lash out at you unexpectedly. And once solidly shoved down into the secret parts of your mind, they can be hard to pull back out again and work through.

I had a traumatic experience years ago that I covered up. Most of us have something. Some of us have lots of things. Mine is just my thing, something I can’t seem to get past, something that matters only to me. In the beginning, I buried it as deeply as I could. At first, that was only skin deep and the emotions would lie right beneath my face, threatening to come through at any moment. Later, I pushed it down farther and farther, trying to convince myself that it didn’t matter anymore. “I’m okay now” became my mantra. I said it so many times, I sometimes believed it. Sometimes I still do. But every time I think I’m fully healed up (it has been years, after all), something will trigger me unexpectedly.

That happened, tonight. One moment I was fine, talking to Will before bed. A few sentences later, I was having a sobbing, shaking, hyperventilating panic attack that lasted about 20 minutes before I got it under control and went back to being my usual self. Why does this still happen to me? I go months without thinking about it. And then out of nowhere, something sets me off and I feel like I’m set back to square one, the emotions just as strong as they were in the beginning. Every time, I come back to, “Is this normal? Am I allowed to feel this? What’s wrong with me?”

Nothing is wrong with us, when we’re hurting. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. We’re in pain. That’s okay. Some traumas are deep-seated and I think that some probably stay with us forever. It doesn’t mean that you’re not okay. Maybe you are okay, you’ve just learned to live around the scar. Some things are allowed to be a big deal, are allowed to hurt worse than you thought they would. If you cry, it doesn’t mean that you’re ugly, weak, or shameful. You’re strong. It takes strength to allow yourself to be comfortable with your vulnerability.

I’m still working on it. Writing this, I’m still not sure whether or not I’ll share it with you. Vulnerability is not something we like to put out there. It’s uncomfortable and scary. There’s always the chance that someone will say, “Oh, well you don’t have it THAT bad, my cousin… (fill in the blank)” or “That’s really not that big of a deal” or “You just want attention.”  If you’re a girl, someone will probably ask you if you’re on your period or something. And so we keep it to ourselves while some of us end up feeling isolated. It’s so much safer to show our brave faces, our adventures, our joy. There’s no risk in that. I think perhaps we keep our struggles to ourselves because all of us have experienced some kind of pain in life, to varying degrees, and we don’t like being sad together when we could share our jokes and our passion for life instead. Some things are private for a reason. That’s fine too.

That said, I’d like to be more open about the fact that I go through some crap as well. If not for your benefit, for mine. And for my friends. And my loved ones. So many of my people struggle silently and alone with issues they don’t think others will relate to or care about. I remember one of my friends telling me that it seemed like he was alone in his struggles while everyone else was living a near-perfect life. Of course, that’s not true, we’re all screwed together. Another important human of mine wondered if it was okay for it to be a big deal, while crying on my shoulder. My upstairs neighbour just broke down in tears outside my window, but was all smiles half an hour ago when he came by to introduce himself.

Why do we wear masks? Why isn’t it okay to not be okay sometimes? Wouldn’t showing our moments of pain only serve to enhance the celebration of the times when we’re loving everything about our lives?

I am full of excitement and passion and joy and love most of the time. I have adventures. I’m a goofball. I love colour and pizzaz (and pizzas). I make upbeat music and try to seek out the most vibrant moments in life that I can. And sometimes, I cry. That’s all. I refuse to put a mask on it.

If you’re hurting, I’m here for you. We can be strong together.

location-independent, hedgehog, freelance
Happy prickle bean for you.

4 Replies to “It’s okay to cry. We can be strong together.”

  1. I’m not sure how to say it any other way, but these last two posts make you seem a lot more human to me personally. It makes it way easier to connect to the other things because now it seems like a real person doing those other things. You’d think that at my age I’d figure things like that out anyway, but when people are leading a semi-charmed (totally borrowed that from a song) life, I begin to wonder if you have to be born into it to make that life. You’re right, traumas are there. I learned a long time ago that sometimes, they just need to be revisited a bit in order to move on. I think maybe we heal in processes? Not just all at once, but over time as we get older and gain more wisdom? Maybe these things come back because there’s one more way to learn a lesson or apply it to our life? I’m sort of asking because sometimes I wonder what I learn from certain ones that I literally never want to think about again…but I’m one of those people who believe we can learn from anything and everything. Anyway…I don’t know if this was as supportive as it was meant to be.
    Hugs for your sad.
    That prickle bean makes me so happy every time I see her! <3

    1. Yup, definitely a real person. I realized recently that I didn’t want to only share the good bits on my blog, but also the crummy bits. My life is unusual and privileged and I know that, but I’m not some perfect Barbie girl. Not even close, ha! I don’t want people to have an incorrect image of who I am because I only share the good parts. And yeah, maybe healing is a process. Difficult things we go through seem to stick with us and become a part of who we are. I’m not sure I’d even want to be rid of it, because I wouldn’t be who I am. Thanks for your words of wisdom.

  2. Trauma and tough memories are strange beasts. The mask you refer to is control. People are usually expected to be in control – of their emotional state and their behaviour and responses to others. No wonder the expression ‘getting under the skin of things’ is so accurate and descriptive of the actuality of living.

    Two people spring to mind after I read about your masks. One is a Norwegian woman I knew as a student who constantly broke the rule and lifted off her mask – often to strangers. The response was disarming. Her honesty and openness was contagious. People shared everything with her. This was in no small way because she communicated her own issues and problems. She is a very very special woman.

    Another is a former girlfriend of mine – from Peru. She got kidnapped and held hostage. When the police came to rescue her she was being held by one of her kidnappers with a gun to her head. Despite this the police went ahead and shot the kidnapper dead on the spot – still holding onto her as he fell from the mortal wounds.

    Both these women are very unusual and incredibly striking – they make a powerful impression physically and characterfully. They both make an immediate impact. But my Norwegian friend has a strength and an integrity which puts most of the rest of us to shame. She is so strong – sharing her vulnerabilities so freely. My Peruvian lover meanwhile was locked with her memories and resorts to alcohol and nihilism to deal with her inner self and that harrowing episode from long ago.

    I was reading today an interview with Arundhati Roy. So direct and playful. So true and simultaneously also mystifying. Her response to herself and other humans – is just delightful.

    We should all be a little bit more honest about our masks and the way we see the masks of others. For most of us that’s uncomfortable or troubling. But you are spot on. We should just admit it – we are all vulnerable and we should all embrace that vulnerability and realise that life isn’t about being bullet proof. Otherwise we would all be heartless and soulless. That would be really sad.

    1. I love this. <3 Thank you for sharing.

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