C is for CRYOct 18, 2021
C is for CRY
Stop watching yourself cry!
My mother, her eyes red, the weed smoke blown in my direction, the beaded leather roach clip with the single feather dangling from the rearview mirror.
I was sitting shotgun, probably 6 years old. Kenny Rogers was singing about friendship. I was missing a friend. I was longing for a hug, some reassurance, to be told that everything was going to be ok, that I was safe.
We were parked somewhere in the mountains of North Carolina. My young, soft, cheek laying on my hands, head tilted, blue eyes swollen from the stream of hot tears. I caught my little girl reflection in the mirror and held my own gaze. I watched myself cry, it could not have been for long, because I was snapped out of it, now frozen in the shame and guilt for looking at myself while I released emotion. I was scolded for crying. My mother’s icy hot tone made my heart beat faster, my throat closed with fear, my breath grew even more shallow.
As I reflect now, I don’t remember crying much throughout my childhood after that. I am sure I did. It is interesting what our memory holds onto and what it sets free. Our bodies however are an entirely different fabric.
“Don’t watch yourself cry."
But, what if we watched? What if when we felt the rise of tears, we held the deepest, kindest, self-compassion for ourselves when we are hurting, scared, alone, uncertain?
What if we threw our tears a welcome home party? Invited them in, hugged ourselves, listened, and even congratulated our body for having the courage to release the emotions. Each tear a mini life raft headed to the waterfall of healing, of inner peace, of light and love. Releasing stored emotions and trapped trauma creates an opening, an air-filled space where growth, forgiveness, systemic change, repair, and healing occur.
I went on my very first women’s retreat last week hosted by my business and breathwork mentor, Cheryl Hawrychuk (check her out on IG). I plan to write more about the entire, expansive experience, but for now...The Alphabet Game. I can not quite remember the prompt, something around the challenges of building a biz and being an entrepreneur. When my turn came around and the letter was C, cry was the first thing to come out of my mouth.
And cry I do. I cry at those sappy commercials. I cry when I see an elderly couple holding hands. I cry at lost pet posters. Songs, quotes, movies, photos, posts, I cry. Maybe it is the mom in me or the fact that I am an empath. I feel deeply. If you are hurting, I am in it with you. I am sure the WHY list is a long one. I do know for certain that it is more than just female hormones and my natural lack thereof these days.
Obviously, I am not always crying. When I feel the emotion bubbling up inside, when I feel the tightness in my throat and chest, I lean into being open and allowing the release. Learning that I am safe to express myself, shredding those layers that once caused me to seal in the emotions, to run from them, to drink and/or drug them into hibernation, only fueled my depression, anxiety, and the desire to escape. I wanted a healthier path for myself and my children. My inner knowing told me that it was up to me to break the cycles of running, avoiding, and ignoring. I never wanted to feel so uncomfortable with emotion that I would ask someone else to stifle their own. Talk about the fuel that ignited my mission to become a mental health counselor!
I am well versed in crying now that I am in my 40’s. I cry alone, in groups, on a Zoom call, and while writing emails. I cry on my yoga mat. I cry when I am sitting by the ocean or grounding into nature. My tears have watered the land and sea. I cry in my car, in my bed, in the shower.
I cry during breathwork. I cry even more after breathwork. I cry when I am stressed. I cry when joy fills my body and a smile cracks open my face. I cry tears of pride when I look at my children. Tears of fear for how big and scary this world seems at times.
Movement, sound, breath. These are the most powerful tools for shaking free and releasing the stored, stagnant layers of all the shit that we ourselves, our family, friends, peers, and society have placed upon us. The conditioning that hides our wisest, truest, highest self.
We are human beings. As the incredible singer, P!NK says, “We all cry the same tears”.
I invite you to feel your feelings. Welcome them all without criticism or judgment from yourself or another. When we allow ourselves to feel and express, we invite in the healing. When we do the inner work, when we heal, we are not only healing ourselves and generational trauma, we are one by one, tear by tear, healing the world around us.
I remember the Kenny Rogers lyrics now,
“Good friend, why did you have to go?
Just when I was getting to know you
I'll sing this song to show
You were a good friend
They don't make 'em quite like you
And in my memory
You'll always be a good good friend to me…”
Thank you Kenny for the reminder that we are allowed to be vulnerable. We are allowed to feel. And! Writing, singing, and dancing are all healthy ways to move through it and reconnect to ourselves. xo