Get your Ugly Face on!!
Feelings come up and we ignore them, push them down, smile and pretend like everything is A-Okay because everybody around us “appears” so happy, except they aren’t. I recall vividly stuffing my feelings down as early as 5 years old with my drug of choice; cake batter. The following 35 years or so I spent eating as a means of avoiding feelings. I became an expert at numbing myself the minute I started to feel “badly”; cookie dough, brownie batter, hmmmm…I’m sensing a theme.
I remember Byron Katie, an amazing teacher of mine, saying that feelings come up to say goodbye. It is so true! I think crying gets a bad rap. Crying is one of our greatest, and most underused tools we have to help us heal our grief and grow to our potential. I think many of us, me included at times, think something terrible is going to happen if we cry, like our head is going to explode or we are going to break down, never to return to normal, but in fact, it’s the exact opposite. It is the one thing that can bring us back to “normal”. I haven’t done the research yet, but I am pretty sure nobody has ever died from crying. If we take the time to nurture ourselves, and find a quiet spot to go every time we needed to cry and just let that shit out, we would feel so much better!
I prefer to be alone when I’m crying, making crazy ugly faces, boogers coming out of my nose, mascara running down my face, and frankly people get uncomfortable when they see others cry. If I’m watching a chick flick while my kids are at home they have a radar for the exact moment I’m about to cry, and they call me on it every time! It really takes the fun out of it. Sometimes I know I need a good cry so I’ll purposely turn on a chick flick to get the tears to start flowing. The Holiday is my 100% guaranteed, I’m going to cry for sure, movie. Music is another amazing tool for helping me to cry if I’m feeling stressed and I can’t cry. MacKenzie Bourg from American Idol is my top choice for music these days. Something about his voice is so beautiful it just gets the tears rollin’.
Crying actually feels good, similar to that of laughing, especially when you’re finished and your face goes back to normal. I noticed this after I lost my daughter. I cried as much and as often as I could because I noticed that the more I got out, the better I started to feel in between the sad days. The way I see it is “the closest distance between two points is a straight line”, point A is the loss, point B is feeling better, crying is the straight line (avoiding feelings is Mount Everest).
Sometimes I cry for other reasons like because I’m proud of somebody, or because I’m really feeling grateful about something, or because a Hallmark commercial comes on. In any case, it all feels pretty good if I let it come up and take its natural course.
Life has its challenges, and in spite of that, we walk around being strong, with a stiff upper lip, dusting our pants off and getting back up, and singing “I will Survive”. But sometimes, we just need a good cry. We need to really feel whatever is going on inside of us and let it all come out. Our bodies carry the stress inside and its giving us signals all the time to do something about it, and we ignore it. Until, if you’re like me, you wake up one morning with breast cancer, and then you think “Shit, I should have listened to my body and let that shit out!”