Monday, September 19, 2016

It's Not OK to Cry

I thought a lot about whether I wanted to write this column or not. Then, I wondered if I should post it on Monday, when I like to do a "rally the troops, get out there and have a great week" blog.

But, in the end, I saw yet another Facebook post from a friend in crisis, and decided that T. S. Eliot is wrong. April is not the cruelest month. September is.

So, here in the midst of September, we all need this reminder: It's not OK to cry. 

Now, if tears were flames, I burst into spontaneous combustion at least 10 times last Tuesday. Don't worry -- there's nothing horrible going on. It wasn't a crisis. It was the sucker punch of life, the combination of countless hurts and frustrations and losses and irritations and worries and failures, those moments we push down and ignore so we can make it through the day.

On Tuesday, I went to Village Shalom. I gave flowers to the wonderful nurse who has taken such good care of mom and is leaving to go back to school. I told mom who I was, something I do repeatedly these days.

Then I went out to the parking lot, got into my car, sat there and sobbed. And I continued to burst into spontaneous tears throughout the day.

You know what happened? I woke up Wednesday and felt lighter. I felt happier. I felt like myself again. And that's when I remembered ...

It's not OK to cry. It's essential. It's life-affirming. It's cleansing. Crying is visceral proof that we are feeling, caring, emotional beings. Crying is human.

And I rarely do it, because I'm pretty damn busy being strong and stoic, when I ought to just be.

So if you, like far too many of my friends, are going through a tough month, here's my Monday morning, rally the troop advice: Find a sanctuary. Maybe it's your home. Your car. A quiet stretch on a familiar path. Then, if you need to cry, let the waterfall flow.

I often find sanctuary in solitude. You may prefer to cry on someone's shoulder. Either way, when hearts are heavy and eyes are full, we're not alone. Ancients sages are right beside us, quietly whispering:

"This too shall pass."

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