I am a sensitive person. I always have been. This means that I live with my heart on my sleeve and feel everything. Those emotions used to spill out of me in the form of jokes and tears, but mostly tears.
I was the one who cried while watching strangers reunite at airports. I cried when crawlers clutched their way to the Comrades finish line, I cried at every Oprah episode, heck, I even cried at the VW adverts.
I cried when I was angry, I cried while trying to make my point in Crew Leader meetings in a room full of TV men ( dammit). I cried when Auld Lang Syne was sung. I cried for anything and everything.
4 years ago I cried outside the ICU ward when I realised my friend was slipping away. A stranger consoled me. I stopped crying and locked in my tears. Within a couple of months of her dying, my husband had a serious health issue and was in the same hospital being treated by the same doctor. At the same time in a hospital on the far East side of our country, my dad lay in theatre having his broken hip fixed. I had no tears.
I felt perplexed as I know what suppressing emotions can do to my health. I am a therapist, I advise my clients to let all the tears, anger, fear and toxicity out. Yet I couldn’t access mine. Locked far down, out of reach, I put my grief neatly away. The therapist part knew it was dangerous, so I thought my walk across Spain would crack me. Nope. The only tears that I didn’t force, were those that spilled from an unknown place in front of Sagrada Familia. I returned home, invigorated but not cried out.
Towards the end of last year, my world began to shake. I could feel changes coming. This year, my 14 year old dog had to be put down. This was the crack, in fact it felt like a rupture of an old scar. Tears poured out of me, and I didn’t stop them. Like the first rains of Spring, they made grooves in my face and my heart. I wailed and wailed. This short beginning of 2019 has been a year of tears, changes and awareness. Today, my connection to my late friend, her beloved Gigi, or Gypsy girl, Boston dog, had to be laid to rest. This time the wailing was less. The tears know how to flow. They have been making surprise acquaintance all week. In supermarkets, DIY stores, in my car, and in my therapist chair.
I am trying not to overthink it, because it is simply a matter of feeling- not analyzing. I am surrounded by support. Some unexpected and from unusual people and I am allowing myself to feel. I am trying not to rush it away and I have to force myself to refrain from asking ‘how are you?’. I can’t deflect this. I have to own it. To feel it.
I am crying… at last.