“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
it finally happened. i cracked. small eruptions in the last couple of months were warning me, but i thought i was stronger. i wasn’t. in an unknown place, i broke into a thousand little pieces for a time tonight.
i haven’t had a panic attack since my divorce, and before that, just once during my first year of college. the only reason i know what they are is because i called my father the first time and he recognized it instantly. he had them. it’s a place where you can’t calm down – for me, i can’t breathe, i can’t stop crying. not gentle weeping, rather the chest convulsions and racking sobs that come from somewhere so deep down that you feel like you are unearthing a million buried hurts.
“I couldn’t be with people and I didn’t want to be alone. Suddenly my perspective whooshed and I was far out in space, watching the world. I could see millions and millions of people, all slotted into their lives; then I could see me—I’d lost my place in the universe. It had closed up and there was nowhere for me to be. I was more lost than I had known it was possible for any human being to be.” ~ Marian Keyes
i was in a dance class, and behind my eyes i could feel it coming, a frustration with my own limitations, with my own emotional exhaustion, with my own internal struggles. i had been culminating – is that a word? thinking about the decisions made over a lifetime, where i am now, and, as brilliant as this may sound, trying to determine my next steps. to see if i have what it takes to get what i want out of my life. honestly, i don’t know. i’m being real. i’m being honest. i don’t know if i’ll get the things i dream about, and i’m not looking for motivational speeches. no interest in inspirational words – i just need warmth, genuine warmth.
“It is a grave injustice to a child or adult to insist that they stop crying. One can comfort a person who is crying which enables him to relax and makes further crying unnecessary; but to humiliate a crying child is to increase his pain, and augment his rigidity. We stop other people from crying because we cannot stand the sounds and movements of their bodies. It threatens our own rigidity. It induces similar feelings in ourselves which we dare not express and it evokes a resonance in our own bodies which we resist.” — Alexander Lowen (The Voice of the Body)
this quote i found recently hits close to home. i was frequently mocked for crying as a child and it made me cry more. it was never a simple ‘it’s going to be okay’ and a hug. tears were bad, weakness was bad, and depression was unacceptable. i remember as an adult trying to talk to my mother about my father’s struggles with depression and she literally did not take it seriously, saying something to the effect of snap out of it, and it was impressed very deeply that she did not believe it was a valid problem one could be dealing with. and i knew, she’d never understand. i don’t know what their dynamic was like, as i was just four when he left, but i know that there is a mind body connection in this life and you have to take care of both in order for all to be at peace.
and so, after the upheaval (i made it home before i broke down, no worries there), i stopped myself from dwelling and went to the backyard, pulled on my ratty old garden gloves, and started trimming up my tomato vines that are so heavy right now as the fruit begins to turn color. it was a few quiet moments of re-centering myself when there is no one around, when there are no arms to run to, no one i feel like i can call who would just come over and sit with me.
i’ll never claim to understand everything about myself, but i will promise this: if i’m hurting, if i’m celebrating, if i’m contemplating, i will do my best to put it in words. for some it’s overwhelming. for others it helps them reflect. for me, it’s pushing myself to be honest in a way you can’t in your mind. put it on paper and admit it and it creates an autobiographical footprint. there is more i want to say but here i am, afraid of seeming weak, afraid of others saying she’s too big of a burden to deal with.
so i’m working at this, through words. we shall just have to wait and see. anything is possible. where do i risk, where do i play it safe.
ps- even with what i’ve uncovered in an evening, my day overall was not horrible. i read in my book, i drank coffee and looked out a window, i heard music in my ears, i spoke to my boss who is becoming a trusted advisor, i wore new yoga pants which fit in a very nice way, and i had beautiful fat juicy green grapes. i’m okay, i’m not broken. i’m just a woman figuring things out, like anyone…just exposing where i struggle, where i question, where my mind takes me.