People are striving for prolonged happiness. We're hoping for joy and hilarity and peace. We relish strength and wisdom and progress. Who can blame us? When it's good, it's good and feeling good feels great!
We live to linger in those positive moments and we exhaust ourselves chasing them... holding onto them... remembering them... recreating them.
But that's just the half of us. Literally. The positive.
Why do we treat the negative like crap? Why do we pretend it doesn't exist? Why is it so hard to honor sadness and sorrow? Why are we so uncomfortable being uncomfortable?
Is it in how we were raised? Is it a societal thing? A cultural thing?
That's a shit ton of questions with no answers. No rule of thumb. No general basis.
I guess all I can do is reflect on my own emotional vocabulary and accountability. Somewhere in between 12 years of Catholic school, being a woman, a sister, a sibling, puberty, and sort of a millennial, being emotional became a weakness. I have apologized for crying most of my life. Actually, I've fought back more tears than I've shed for sheer protest against crying for whatever reason. I grew up only crying in my sleep from dreams that were sad or shocking with no control over the waterworks or my subconscious.
(It's all fun and dream tears until you're in the bed next to someone you may or may not have had sex with and you start sobbing in your sleep only to freak your bedmate the fuck out--true story)
Do any of ya'll have a 'cry movie?'
Yeah, a cry movie.
Like, one you watch periodically to induce crying because it's an unnatural thing to do without prompt?
Well, I did/do.
I don't know how many times over the course of my existence I purposefully set aside 36-48 hours to watch What Dream May Come (yes, that one with Robin Williams that's kinda like Dante's Inferno and he crossed through hell and ethereal realms because he loves his Annie so goddamn much and I want someone to love me that goddamn much). I spend that movie violently holding back tears and eventually sobbing so hard that my eyes swell up like irritated bee stings and I have to chill them with iced spoons for hours later. Hence the 36-48 hours of solo time.
Highly. Highly recommend that movie for cry movie. Oh, or An Affair to Remember.
Another good one.
All the same...
I think it all boils down to how the ''I can do it myself'' "I need no help" "I'm find and unaffected" mentality has overshadowed my ability to ask for help when needed and I guess I thought that's how good character was formed. Sadness became a form of weakness, emotional vulnerability became something to avoid, and strong skin was priced much higher than thin.
Man Oh MAN, this pregnancy... This forced growth--emotional and physical--has taught me that being emotional is not weakness. I've cried so hard this pregnancy, I discovered new sounds I could make wailing into a pillow... or my steering wheel. I learned my eyes don't have to swell if I just don't block the damn exit and let the tears out. I have grown from navigating the pain of being dumped and fallen out of love with... I have learned that I don't break... I have grown in wisdom and humor. I am more well-rounded. I am more stable. I have learned more coping skills, sharpened my tools of processing, and reacquired my big girl panties. I can cry gracefully. I can also cry like a snot wielding mad woman. I can be angry and so filled with rage that my hands turn to pale, white, bloodless fists.
Allowing myself to feel that... giving myself permission to be negative, to be blue, to be red, to be whatever "negative" emotion I am feeling has, in turn, brought me right back around to actually being happy. Letting those feelings fly for however long they need to has not let me down. Expressing emotion is a strength, not a weakness.
Hello, 2018, you saucy, well-rounded, wild thing, you.
Mallory Kate is a blogger, artist, single mom and funny girl outta Nevada.
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