This is not the first time this has happened in the past year, but it came from so far out of nowhere, it startled me. It was because of an event that happened many years ago and it popped in my head like it had just happened. Within minutes, I was reduced to the most guttural cry and that's the best way to describe it. It felt like it was scraping the bottom of my stomach. I was enraged, and sad, and so, so out of my mind with heartbreak. There was no Buddha, or mountain, or bitter sweet memory. I was broken wide open with no warning what so ever.
People have said that I am strong. They have even said that my strength inspires them. But in my journey to unravel myself, I have been enlightened to things about myself that are not authentic. I don't think my strength is strength, I think it's fear. It just looks like strength.
I have spent an entire lifetime not processing one single feeling, especially feelings about traumatic events. On purpose. I have never allowed myself to feel things. I am so fearful to actually feel something, I just pretend it didn't happen or I fix it. If I can fix it, I don't have to feel anything about it. If I can't fix it, it didn't happen. Walk away.
My process as a mother and as a person is take action, quickly. Don't think about the details of why everything is on fire, just put out the fire. Move. Don't stop. Ever.
So now, at the age of 50, my brain is getting all up in my business. Apparently, all those things from a lifetime that I have said, "That was a long time ago." My brain is sort of throwing a surprise party and saying, "Remember that? You're going to deal with that right now!" There's not a million different things, but about 10 things, big things, that I was so 'Strong' I walked them off and now it looks like I'm going to make it up on the back end. Totally without my permission. Totally without my control. All of those times that I said, I have to be strong, I have to do what I have to do, I can not fall apart, I need to be there for other people.
I still believe we need to be strong when something horrible or unfair or traumatic happens. We gather our strength and move toward something better. BUT, even the strong need to stop, just for a minute and process our feelings. Sit in it for a minute. Go ahead and feel the burn.
If you can't feel your feelings because that's how you learned to manage your head, I don't know that this is the definition of strength. I think it's more of a weakness. When that's all you know, how to walk away from an event and pretend it didn't happen, that's the way you do it.
Of course there is the opposite kind of person. The one that is always feeling the feelings and wanting to feel more about how they feel about the feelings. Okay, man. I get it. You have some feelings. Damn.
Here's what I know for sure and I'm telling you this because if you are the 'strong' one, you may need to look back about 35 years. All that shit that you walked off? It's still there. What you have to do is look at it and not turn away. Even if it's something that happened 20 years ago, there is not one thing wrong with crying and screaming and saying, that was bullshit. That almost destroyed me. That hurt me and I am still hurt. I'm pissed off at this person and I feel betrayed by this person.
Here's what happens if you don't really look back and go ahead a feel all those things. You are going to be standing in Target, minding your own business. Someone is going to walk by and look like or smell like or laugh like... and there goes the snowball down the hill, you're holding a bottle of Windex sobbing uncontrollably while people stare, so you scream, "Have you never seen a person have a fucking feeling before!?"
Pretending the thing didn't happen, doesn't mean it didn't happen. Pretending you don't have any feelings about the event, does not make it so. I think most people have at least one day of their life they would like to just pull out of their memory and pretend that day didn't happen. So we spend our lives trying to shake off that day, act like it didn't happen, but what we are doing is actually allowing that day to effect everyday. That one day controls everyday. And because of the fear of standing toe to toe with that memory, our refusal to do so gives that memory complete power over our lives. It's like caring around a giant bag of shit for 35 years. People are saying, "What's that awful smell." And we say, "Oh. It's my giant bag of shit. I take it everywhere." You will actually expect that if someone loved you, they would actually hold your bag of shit.
If you had an event where you were hurt, and it was so painful that you avoided the pain of being hurt, you will spend the rest of your life feeling like everyone is trying to hurt you. When in fact, it's not the case. You're still living off the original experience and applying it to your everyday life because you never addressed the original pain. You're still hurt because you've never allowed yourself to feel anything about that event. I know how childish this sounds but it's accurate. The person or people from so many years ago, that actually deserve to be shit on, never get shit on. But every person you come in contact with for the rest of your life? Welcome to my shit party. Get comfortable. Whatever feeling you have that is overpowering, you can look back to a moment in your life that gave you that initial feeling and see how you have carried it your whole life. At some point you have to drop the bag of shit and hope it doesn't happen in Target.
So, I cried and cried, and today I still feel a little bit sad. But I did look at the thing. I didn't run away or take a pill or diminish the events. I know in a day or so I'll be fine and it's another demon conquered. That gives me strength. That makes me strong. The saying, "You can run, but you can't hide." Actually you can hide. But one of these days, you're going to be in Macy's, and all hell is going to break loose. To be honest, I don't think a person is truly authentic until they have an emotional breakdown in public. Could be just me.