So, I cried in public today…

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We’ve all been there, right?

Everything building up. Pause.

Lump in throat. Pause.

Voice quivering. Heart pounding.

Pause.

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.

Pausing,

Michael

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*photos stolen from somewhere on social media (maybe Insta or Pinterest)

2 thoughts on “So, I cried in public today…

  1. I agree that we don’t want to project our vulnerabilities and pain onto others. I’m a pretty private person when it comes to my emotions. I put on a smiley face for everyone because I have to. Normally I am in a good mood, but on the days when I’m not, I force myself to push through the day with a smile until I’m able to let it all go and cry and scream or throw things in the privacy of my home.

    Five years ago my mom called me at work and said that my dad was unconscious and had a second stroke on the other side of his brain. He’d been recovering from a first stroke, and had really worked hard in rehab to regain his speech. I’d just talked to him two weeks before on the telephone and had understood everything he said to me, and he even told me he loved me, which after he’d had his stroke he couldn’t even say. It was a complete shock to my mom and I that this was happening, especially after he’d made so much progress. I had to fly to Texas from California knowing that I was going to see my father for the last time and watch him take his last breath. It was Halloween day, and the airport was crowded with adults and children dressed up in costumes. Everyone around me seemed so happy and cheerful, and I just wanted to lock myself in the ladies room and cry and scream that life wasn’t fair. I held it in as best as I could while sitting at the gate and waiting for the airport staff to tell us that they were boarding the plane. I held it in, though I couldn’t stop some silent tears from escaping. I could feel people looking at me and wanting to know what was wrong with me, why I was crying, why I was upset. All these people in the airport were happy and excited to be going on vacation or visiting family, and I was there because my dad, my hero was going to die. It was tough.

    I’m sorry for whatever sorrow and pain you’re going through. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    • Thank you so much for the comment, and also for the kind words. Means a lot!

      I a sending you healing vibes as well, and hoping for some sense of understanding for you. Keep your head up, and thank you for finding solidarity with me.

      March on…

      Like

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