Growing Up Emotional

Let's talk about crying. 

Now to those of you who are still reading...lets begin.  

Since I was born, I have been a very emotional being. When I was a kid I always had this feeling  that I was known for being that girl who got upset easily. I was known for being sensitive.  Now there is a chance I remembering this on a larger scale, but I believe what still holds true is that when we exhibit intense emotions: we believe the whole world is looking at us. More specifically, we feel that the world is looking down on us. 

I hated being the girl that cried a lot. I never felt like I was strong for that reason. Going into my early teenage years nothing really changed. I was the cliched 14 year old who loved romantic comedies and allowed myself to love boys I should've never even crushed on. I loved looking at the stars while "You and Me" by life house played in my headphones attached to my pink iPod shuffle. I was always feeling at a high intensity, and at least by my family, I was not told to be anything different.


Looking back, I see I was raised in a beautiful way. My brother and I were taught about how are varying personalities may cause us to react to situations in different manners. We were told that these are experiences where we can learn about ourselves. My parents never made me feel any shame for being an emotionally expressive individual. Yet I still felt like I was less of a person because I cried a lot. 

As I got older and experienced more life however, things changed. I made two big moves to different states in a span of 5 years. The way I viewed my emotions shifted. 

The first move, from Washington to Michigan, I avoided nothing in terms of feelings. I wrote heartfelt letters to all of my friends, telling them how much I loved them and how much they meant to me. About fifteen people came to the train station to see me off as I left them. That was a big mistake. To say that was one of the worst days of my life is an understatement. Seeing a sea of broken faces as you turn your back to start something new isn't something I'd wish on anyone. I then made a mental note: best to exit alone and quietly next time. 

The first few years in Michigan I stayed pretty true to my emotional roots, then College came. I experienced job loss of loved ones, friends moving, and loved ones moving on to different paths I couldn't be a part of. Outwardly expressing those feelings of pain literally made me feel weak. I finally said to myself , I can't take this anymore.  

The next year, I cried less and became a much more negative individual. I almost bragged about having trust issues and took pride in my hardening exterior. Yes, I still cried a lot but it became a less frequent occurrence and I felt like that meant I was becoming a better person. (I mean I was living in a culture where the emotionally distant woman "got the guy" and the "happily ever after" while the emotional and sensitive types were always the goofy side character). When it came time to move again I made time for less people, and I exited a little more quietly. 


 New opportunities and people continued to come as well as go, and I felt a great burden. I was suppressing far too much. I wanted to avoid sadness like the plague. If I began to feel sad or cry, that meant that every choice I made to move forward wasn't worth it. I didn't want to have good memories because that meant they no longer existed... and that would just be too painful. 

Finally the new year came I realized I needed to do something different. My brother and sister in law had left for Michigan after spending over a week with us. We had an amazing Christmas holiday and I hated saying goodbye for the millionth time. I hated being sad about it, I hated that I would cry every time they left to go back home. 

A few weeks later I decided to go see a movie by myself (one of my favorite activities). Call Me By Your Name was playing and I knew it was an Oscar contender, so why not. Little did I expect that some little independent gem would completely wreck me, as well as speak to me about what I was going through.

(Spoilers Ahead)

There was a monologue at the end between a father and son. The son was experiencing great heart break and the father begins to give him advice:

"...In your place, if there is pain, nurse it, and if there is flame, don't snuff it out, don't be brutal with it. Withdrawal can be a terrible thing when it keeps us awake at night, and watching others forget us sooner than we'd want to be forgotten is no better. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as to not feel anything- what a waste!"

Maybe some won't understand it, but this paragraph of dialogue justified every negative thing I thought about myself for at least 10 years was a lie. I sat in the theater unable to move for a while. I had been neglecting so much of who I was for far too long. Who I was was somebody who loved deeply and intensely. For those reasons I also hurt even deeper.  Neglecting that part of me caused me to become "bankrupt" in my soul. Each time I "started with someone new" I had less to give. What a waste indeed. 


Now the point of all this isn't that if you don't cry you're wasting your life. The point is that we must not hold back the emotions in our hearts because of fear. With great sorrow comes an even greater joy.  So acknowledge your bad days, recognize your pain. And sometimes you need to sit with it for awhile. Don't shove things aside in order to be "cured faster". Express the sadness and own your tears as badge of courage. 

"I think we should re-frame what it means to be sad. Instead of sadness being sadness, maybe we should view it as a deeper longing for what we already have." - Mamma Love