Saturday, February 1, 2014

Make Time For a Good Cry

Today my counselor and I talked about expressing feelings. It is no secret that I express my emotions in a big way. I am rarely, just a little mad. When I am mad, I am explosively mad. When I am sad, I am deeply sad. When I am happy, I am very energetically happy. My feelings are loud and expressive; I don't tend to have mellow, quiet feelings.

Which is not a bad thing, for the record. The general ruling thus far is, I have the W family erratic expression of emotion, with the S family range of emotion. While the W family only expresses anger - and loudly - the S family experiences all emotions (you know, like regular humans). So a mixture of the two would be, I express all of my emotions, but I express them...not quietly.

We started talking more about my extended family, and I told her a story that my mom told me recently. When I was about to go into kindergarten, my mom dropped my brother off at Grandma's house on our way to the doctor. I had to get shots, and I was nervous. Grandma looked at me and said, "Remember, you are a W, and W's don't cry." 

When we got out to the car, my mom said, "You are half a S, and S's cry whenever we need to." 

My counselor loved this story. And by loved, I mean she wanted to talk about it for the rest of the hour I was there this morning. She took this half-a-S-half-a-W mindset and applied it to other relationships in my past, romantic ones, friendly ones, and family ones. We talked about ways that I feel disconnected from the W family - even though ones I am close to - because we don't talk about feelings and because of the walls we all have, just naturally built in front of us.

I remember being in 5th grade, when my Grandpa W died...and my dad didn't come out of his bedroom for several days. I don't remember much about the day Grandpa died or what happened, as I was still little, but I do remember snuggling on the living room floor with my mom, my brother and his stuffed dog Woof and my teddy, Pinky Bear, while we all cried - and my dad was in the bedroom, in the dark. I remember wondering if he was crying or if he was just sleeping. I don't think I had ever seen my dad cry before. And that wasn't going to be the time either. I remember tip-toeing down the hall when I had to pee, so as not to bother my dad. And I remember it being very weird going to bed at night without seeing him all day long, not even at dinner. But my dad was raised in that house. The you're-a-W-and-we-don't-cry house. The house where you yelled when you were mad and yelled when you were sad and yelled when you needed attention and yelled if someone hurt you. My dad didn't grow up in the you're-a-S-and-we-cry-if-we-need-to house, where it was ok to be sad and ok to be mad and ok to cry no matter what you were feeling.

Despite the genetic influence of my dad and his family, I cry when I am sad or hurt. Hell, I cry when I'm happy or excited too. Sometimes, when I am bogged down with stress, whether it is work stress, or personal stress, all I really need is a good cry. 

My mom taught me when I was five, that it's ok to cry whenever I need to. And that I don't have to hide it from anyone either. And I truly do appreciate that life lesson. Tears don't make me weak. Crying doesn't make me less of a strong woman. I am strong, independent, smart, capable...and I cry, like, all the time.