This has been a very strange week. Everything has seemed off somehow. It has also been an emotional week. I am not now nor have I ever been a crier. I was the only on in the theater who did not cry during the movie “Out of Africa.” I don’t remember anything about the movie except that it was long, very long and everyone cried.
Let me qualify that remark about crying. I was a drunken crier. When I was a practicing alcoholic, I had two extremes- very happy or very sad. Very happy meant singing the loudest, dancing like a woman possessed, telling really lame jokes, and being the life of the party. Very sad meant I would cry and tell you how horrible my life was, how depressing world events were, or isolating from everyone.
I wasn’t allowed to cry as a child. After being “corrected” for crying a few times, I learned how to control it. Grandma said that God punished you for crying because He sees it as a lack of faith. Later I believed that crying was a sign of weakness and I needed everyone to know I was strong.
It took therapy and feeling safe enough to cry again once I got clean and sober. I still don’t cry often. It makes me feel vulnerable. When I do cry, I try not to do it in front of anyone. I have not been successful in that endeavor this week. I have cried in the presence of at least ten people this week. I believe that may be a record.
Why all the tears? There are some major changes going on at work. I am changing positions and perhaps office locations. I will no longer be working with the staff I have managed for the past three years. You were expecting something horrific, I bet. I love the work I do and have been doing it a long time. There is huge sense of loss and confusion around the changes.
Last night I received news that someone very important in my life had passed away. I had not seen Paul in about ten years. He had some serious health issues and was over 80 years old. What I have learned about grief is that when you lost someone, it goes somewhere in your brain where all the other grief is stored. It opens all the old wounds. I shared the news with my friend Jan last night and while we “talked”, I cried. She is one of my “safe spaces.” I thought a lot about Paul last night and today. I also touched that grief and memories of my friend Jan (another Jan), my mother and my “other mother” who all died in the past few years.
I spent some time today with the staff from the position I held three years ago. They are a trusted and valued circle of friends. We were working on a project and we stopped to get something to eat. Someone said something that poked a hole in the well of tears and they started again.
I am not a crier, but I think I am learning to become one more and more. I know that I will not break or fall apart if I cry. I found that God doesn’t mind if I cry, nor do my friends. My therapist gave me a bumper sticker for my office that said, “I used to have superpowers, but my therapist took them away.” I am not Superwoman or Wonder Woman. I have emotions. I have tears. I am human. And, you know, I think I am OK with that.
Let your tears come. Let them water your soul. ~Eileen Mayhew