We’ve all been there, right?
Everything building up. Pause.
Lump in throat. Pause.
Voice quivering. Heart pounding.
I cried in public today.
I won’t go deep into the dark place I was navigating through this afternoon, however when I shared this moment with a friend shortly after my mini-meltdown, her response was beautiful and to the point:
“What can you take off? Because a lot on the heart is not good.”
Of course, this text only lead to more tears, and me, silently sniffling in my corner seat on the train. I imagine playing Ben Rector’s, “Sailboat,” on repeat for the past hour has contributed to this pause in stability, however I will also chalk this moment up to just simply being overdue. Crying is healthy. Gender norms tell us differently, and I will challenge those specific expectations until the day I die. Again, crying is healthy.
And while crying has its differing critics, ultimately I would argue that we are all still somewhat uncomfortable with the pain. We don’t talk about the pain. The pain is real, and raw. And perhaps there is some part of us that doesn’t want to agree that life alone is not all ribbons and gumdrops, and that validating the pain might actually represent some sense of submission to vulnerability. Vulnerability is healthy. Submit.
Hell, lean in, if you will.
I should add, there is also this unsettling reality that we don’t want to project our vulnerability or pain upon others. Consequently, we balance the fine line of over-sharing versus keeping a strict guard up. Let the guard down. Be open, be unsettled, be vulnerable. Pick up the phone and call someone. Love on someone.
People are going through some shit, some real and painful shit. Sure, a note on someone’s Facebook or a comment on their Instagram is nice, but so is a cup of coffee and a half hour of processing. So is a voicemail saying, “Hey, I love you. Know that.” So is a handwritten note. So is time spent.
Call. Write. Love. Spend.
During the most influential professional years of my life, I was raised on an understanding that the definition of success exists somewhere within the confines of a calendar and clean email inbox. But, what happens when both of these expectations are reduced to nothing? What happens when an alarm clock is no longer necessary? What happens when we are left vulnerable, open, and subject to pain?
Where is your self-worth? Do you feel free? Can you feel free?
So. I cried in public today. And, the truth is, this won’t be the last time. Here’s to a better understanding of my self, less doughnut binges, and one big Vulnerability Badge.
*photos stolen from somewhere on social media (maybe Insta or Pinterest)