Weeping, Repetition, and Wellness
"Better out than in" is proving to be a pretty solid principle.
Whether you realize it or not, you probably dry yourself off after a shower the same way every time. With very little in the way of variance and almost subconsciously, you’ve probably performed this act in the same way for years if not decades. I’ve done enough crying now that I have officially arrived at the same place with the way I dry my face - as ingrained and ritualistic as the way I get out of the shower.
Remove glasses. Wipe below the eyes and above the cheek in the following manner and order: Back of the forefingers, front of ring fingers, back of thumbs, and a final long slow wipe with the bottom of my palms starting at the base of the thumbs and ending at the outer edges of each hand, reapply glasses. But that’s a very recent development.
I can safely say without exaggeration that I cried more within the first week or two of the loss than I had in all my days combined up to that point. I don’t think it had anything to do with an antiquated view of masculinity or anything like that. I just didn’t like crying. It made me uncomfortable and it always felt terrible while I was doing it. Up until that day I was typically able to override or stave off most emotional pain in order to prevent myself from crying.
But the suffering that resulted from the cumulative loss doled out by the fire was so overwhelming that I had no say whatsoever in when, where, how much, or for how long I cried. For many months I would erupt uncontrollably into tears. Grocery stores, the barber’s chair, behind the wheel, walking in the woods - anywhere at any time. Eventually, the immediacy and ferocity of these episodes began to taper to the point of just welling up. Now if I’m in public, for the most part, I’m able to put the cry session on pause and delay it until I’m in a more appropriate setting.
Then I release the floodgates as soon as I can do so without alarming the general public. A complete 180 from the way I previously handled the urge to cry when I was younger. I know that I might not feel great afterward, but I will definitely feel better. Now if you hit me with a commercial featuring an old man and his grandson fishing, it’s on! Hell, anymore a slightly sad-looking dog might send me over. I’m suddenly “likes to cry” guy, and so be it. In that respect, I view crying the same way I view vomiting. That might sound a little weird and this gets a little dark, but stay with me.
Growing up and all throughout early adulthood, I hated vomiting and would avoid it at all costs. It made me uncomfortable and it always felt terrible while I was doing it. See where this is going? Whether caused by illness, overconsumption of alcohol, or whatever else it was that made me nauseous, my body was going to have to make the decision to vomit because I wasn’t about to just let it happen.
But then I became a heroin addict. For those that have never experienced a swift and heavy opiate high - if you guess wrong with your dosage it can make you pretty nauseous, or worse. Sometimes you take too much, get a little green around the gills, and the quickest way to get over it is to vomit. When I was really mired in the muck it happened often. While I might not have felt great afterward, I definitely felt better. Be it pain or poison, of a physical nature or emotional, sometimes your body just wants the bad out. So let it out. Gather life lessons whenever you can, I suppose.