When I was a child, I was convinced that adults never cried. I thought that maybe someday I would reach an age where crying would no longer be my emotional response to things like fear, stress or anger. When this change didn’t occur, I started to see those who did not cry as strong, and myself as weak. I shamed myself for being emotional and then I learned to drink those emotions away.
As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized that it wasn’t that the adults in my life never shed a single tear, they just weren’t doing it in front of me.
When I was in active addiction, I numbed my emotions. I never felt anything. I didn’t feel joy or love or fear. I was completely indifferent to life or death. When I came into recovery, I would practically choke to death trying to hold back my tears. I was not willing to show anyone how vulnerable and afraid I was. When I finally broke down and cried, I felt this immediate relief. It felt as if all of my energy had been dedicated to holding in my emotions, and suddenly I was light as a feather. It was beautiful and completely overwhelming. Even though I find tears to be completely normal and I know that they are a healthy coping mechanism, I still sometimes feel the sting of embarrassment when I hear my voice crack with emotion.
As a mom, I’ve hidden tears on multiple occasions. There have been tears cried behind closed doors. Tears that have been silenced by loud music or the sound of my shower. And, my personal favorite, tears in my car. Sigh…I have to admit, I do my best crying in my car! * wink*
There are also the tears I haven’t hidden. I’ve cried a thousand tears since I started my recovery journey; some from emotional pain and discomfort and some from the purest form of joy. I’ve shed tears for friends who have died from addiction related causes and family members who have passed away after living a long/happy life. I’ve cried for friends who struggle in their lives, those who have children who struggle in theirs and those who are unable to conceive children of their own. I’ve cried because sometimes I look at my daughter and feel so incredibly proud of her – I never knew a love so powerful could even exist.
I’ve also realized that just because a person doesn’t cry, it doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to cry about. Sometimes, the people who don’t cry are harboring the most pain. They’ve built up a barrier to protect themselves, and they worry that if that barrier ever breaks they may not be able to repair it.
We are all different. We are all human. And I am not suggesting I walk around crying all the time. Trust me, my husband would not be pleased. I am simply stating that tears do not make a person weak. Tears simply mean that a person is experiencing life as it was meant to be experienced – we are emotional beings in an emotional world. God gave us emotions for a reason. We should never be ashamed of them.
So, I guess what I am trying to say – in a round about way – is that if you are ever lucky enough to witness me crying in my car – i just want you to know that I KNOW you can see me and that I am OK with that. I am probably more embarrassed about the mascara running down my face than the actual act itself. It might not always be pretty, neither is life – but it’s always worth. 💕
I also want to share with you all one of my absolute favorite quotes:
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”