Real Talk: I Cry Ugly

It can’t bode well for my mental health journey that my initial evaluation with the first therapist I’ve made an appointment with since 2011 stood me up. Well, maybe not “stood me up” per se, but she definitely cancelled the appointment I have been waiting a month for, on a Friday afternoon of the first warm AND sunny day Seattle has seen in MONTHS because she “isn’t feeling well.” Girl, I see you. I know that play. It’s right up there with family emergencies, menstrual cramping, and a dead grandparent to get an extension on an essay. We’ve all been there.

What was discouraging was my reaction. Let’s just say there were tears. I also really had to pee but I am not an attractive crier so I had to hold it, while I cried, until the anger had subsided, and my puffy, blotchy eyes had regressed to a pinched, red skin look to avoid confronting it head on in our over-large bathroom mirror.

Crying has always been difficult for me. Not only am I not an attractive crier, I am just a crier in general. It happens far too much, and far too often in public. My husband is standing in the background somewhere silently nodding along his assent as I type this, but he is of a prideful and spiteful people so he is not a crier and it makes him TERRIBLY uncomfortable. I used to be better at suppressing it (we’ll get to the reasons for that in just a minute), but then I truly fell in love and realized the beauty of love and life and blah, blah, blah. Now I cry at commercials, movies, podcasts, news reports, push notifications, you name it. It used to only be the sad stuff that got me. Now it’s the happy shit too; and my (minor?) claustrophobia; oh, and anger.

I hate crying. Not because it demonstrates weakness or vulnerability (it should be clear from this blog’s subject matter that those are not in my hang-ups wheelhouse) but because I do it so often and look so ridiculous doing it. I also have a history of saying very public goodbyes (usually in airports, we’ll get there!) to the people I love. As a young kid, I was also discouraged from crying by my stepmother, which my dad went along with. I knew when I was at their house I wasn’t allowed to cry, unless one of two conditions was met: you’re injured or someone died. Felt more like, “don’t be such a girl and/or baby.” No joke. This was a rule I lived under. In their defense, maybe it was as it is today, and I just cried at the drop of a hat, but it felt like a state-sanctioned suppression tactic, so this concession is more to assuage my guilt for airing my family’s dirty laundry than true empathy. If I were to bring this up today, they would deny that this happened; another clue leading me to conclude the latter. Fun side note: I also have crippling daddy issues, but really who doesn’t? Oh, a large swath of the population? Super.

So I adopted the policy and adapted my behavior. Now I choke down the tears (this, of course, backfires and just makes me want to cry more, because I cry most when I’m angry) and if I don’t, because I clearly can’t, I feel guilty. And I’m angry because I was made to believe that there was something wrong in expressing this type of emotion. You may find yourself, at this point in this post, questioning what airports have to do with anything? Well, reader, airports are life ruiners. They are where dreams go to die. They are also the spaces in which I lost my ability to suppress tears. The carefully constructed personality, that I’m sure every eight-year old painstakingly creates, began to crack.

I want to do the true awfulness of airports justice, so the stories have been shelved for another day—its all reading a bit whiny, which I’m sure all of these posts will read to me in the right amount of time. My old journals sure do.

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