Today’s Self-care Challenge: Cry it out.
Often when we are sad, we feel pressure (internally or externally) to hide it. We try to not feel our feelings, either because they feel bad, or we don’t want our housemates across the hall to hear our gross snotty noises as we try to breathe while crying. Crying can be healing. It can be catharsis. It can simply tire us out enough that we can finally fall asleep. Crying alone with all the gross noises and shrieks that might make us feel pathetic for having so much sheer emotion can feel powerful when we give ourselves permission, when we embrace it as a fierce expression of our valid and important emotions. Crying in front of someone we sort-of-maybe-kinda-can-we? trust can be a way to ask for support, to ask for a hug, to say what we cannot say in words: “I hurt, please help me.”
I chose this challenge for today because I have spent at least 3 hours today with tears on my face. I kept trying to rein it in, when I got home and my housemates were about, when I came downstairs to get some tea to rehydrate myself from all the crying and my landlord-housemate was RIGHT THERE ACK. When I spoke to a friend on the phone. All it did was give me a headache and increase my resentment of the person who hurt me. So I finally gave up, curled myself into a ball, and cried. I wrote that person a long email, and cried. I facebook-chatted with my aunt about it, and cried. My eyeballs ache and I have no more tears left. I also wrote a really loving email to a person who made me cry for three hours. I feel loving towards them. I feel accepting of whatever their response might be. I feel stronger. I feel tired. I am ready for bed, like no one’s business.
I like to think of my pain and sorrow as gross cloudy ooze that poisons my body and everything I say and do. It doesn’t make the problem better, it clouds my vision and makes me mean. I like to visualize all that ooze coming out as tears until I am clean and clear and able to see reality again.
(Note to folks who struggle with depression and other emotional conditions, diagnosable or not: Me too! I think this can help sometimes because we are expected to act like everything is fine so often, and crying can be way to say “hey, my feelings are serious and it is okay for me to be sad right now. I’m going to be really really sad, and cry, even if the rest of the world thinks I don’t have a “good enough” reason”)