Tuesday, February 8, 2011

It’s Not All Bad

What I really mean to say here is that It's Not AT All Bad. I'm talking about my recent (and presumably future as well) bouts of weeping and release, and I want you readers to know about the great benefits that I am discovering.

The other night, after watching Glee, I was awake for many hours (until 4:30 am, at least). The first several hours of my wakefulness I was, yes, going over memories of my father and crying, quietly now, as I thought about many more examples of his often unexpected sweetness; his quick temper and irritability; his ability to build anything (not necessarily perfectly well) that he could imagine out of wood, metal or concrete; his skill not only at performing music himself, but encouraging others around him to perform; his rascally (but never mean) sense of humor; and, of course, his oh-so-charming method of praising a child for work well done, i.e. the following conversation:

Me: "Dad! I got a 96 percent on my trigonometry quiz!"

Dad: "What happened to the other 4 percent?".

But the thing was, these thoughts were not keeping me awake any more than I was staying awake to be able to think them. I love that time I just had, memory gates open, marveling and mourning and REMEMBERING, a person who has had, and continues to have even in his absence, a huge influence in my life.

The memory taps eventually ran dry for the night, though, or had been running into my bladder; at any rate, I got up to use the bathroom. While I was in there I suddenly thought "I am not actually going to need my anti-anxiety medication forever," and a wave of peace washed over me. I am not an anxious person at heart, and the current need for medication to live my life on an even keel has, ironically, made me the tiniest bit anxious. I'm still taking the medication, and recognize that I'm not in a place to stop taking it right now (and, in fact, had the beginnings of an anxiety attack yesterday afternoon after having my eyes dilated and then an hour and a half of Gyrotonic—talk about induced vertigo) . . . but someday I will be. I am DOING, I really am, the wrenching but also satisfying work of clearing the shuttered, bank-vaulted, nailed-in tight and then tarred-and-buried-deep-in-the-sand-on-an-uncharted-tropical-island boxes and crates and pirate's chests of all my long-repressed emotions.

Why is it, how is it, that we as a culture have come to learn to repress and hide our strongest emotions? How have we learned that THAT is the appropriate way to be human? Stiff upper lip and all? Don't Cry Out Loud? How many people who succumb to "road rage", for example, would have avoided it if they'd just felt free to scream or weep to someone, anyone, about a really awful experience at work, or even a not-so-awful one that just needed a bit of airing?

What are we afraid of?


allyson said...

i think fear of being vulnerable can be a big reason. What if you put your feelings "out there" and they are not validated or heard. Something *I've* been thinking about recently, too.

Anonymous said...

I think we're afraid of being seen.