When I was 12 I made the grave error of not doing my chores and backtalking to an adult. Both of which earned me a swift slap across the face and a lecture from my father.
There I sat stunned, holding my reddened cheek, tears pooling on the round glass table.
“Stop your blubbering girl. Crying is for pussies.”
I made this awful snorting, sobbing noise, then I sucked it up. My eyes throbbed, but I heeded his advice and turned off the waterworks faucet.
The phrase haunted me for years, and at time it felt as if I had forgotten it.
At 24 I found myself standing in a funeral parlor, surrounded by friends and acquaintances. The staff standing by anxiously watching the clock as if the body would decompose completely in front of our eyes. Or perhaps they wanted to go home. I remember holding my ex-boyfriend as he broke down. I remember the orchid arrangements. I remember the last time I’d ever see a dear friend in the flesh.
I didn’t cry though. “Crying is for pussies.”
Oh sure. My chest ached, my face blotched, my eyes fought a good fight. And I was no “pussy”.
And I sat there, unable to truly feel my emotions yet again. I allowed them to consume me at a later date. You can’t schedule feelings though, and so consume me they did. I became almost at home with my own misery, though she made a poor roommate.
But what does one do about it? Serve an eviction notice? How do you reconcile your emotions with your mind?
You don’t, not really. Emotions can be rationalized sometimes, but for the most part they just exist as fleeting passions or sorrows. It’s okay, I’ve discovered, to feel whatever what you do, so long as it does no lasting damage. It’s okay to be sad sometimes. It’s even okay to cry.
For me I had to soothe my fears. My tears? I had to coax them out one by one under the loving guidance of a friend.
And to them will I ever be grateful.