Possible trigger warning.
Of all the movies I have watched to date, one film and one particular scene in it never fails to crack me up. The movie – ‘The Holiday’, where Cameron Diaz breaks up with her then-partner, ‘tries to cry’ and, after her best efforts to do so, gives up and moves on to book a holiday.
This scene, in particular, was amusing to me, maybe because it resonated with me very well – The attempt to cry.
As a kid, I was super sensitive and used to cry a lot, but I was also a brilliant kid, and I knew that I could get away with my pranks with a teardrop, so I played it well. All-an-all, I am not sure how much water I could have accumulated if I harvested it all – both the real and fake tears.
Then over the years, I just stopped crying, just like that.
Nothing impacted me. Or so I thought.
People respond to trauma differently, and toughening up was mine. (#acompletenono)
I used to have spasms like Cameron did in that movie but never a tear. This probably went on for a good few years. PS: Never control your tears, along with the spasms, you get a terrible headache, and of course, there are the other health issues that lead on.
Then as I grew old, I was able to see the relief in letting go and tearing up when the flood gates open. This did not occur until a medical condition made me realize it is not human to always hold it together, and it is nearly impossible if you think you can. The only other time I remember crying before that was when there was a close family member’s demise.
Over time, I developed a mechanism that I cry only in the scheduled times and do so alone unless there is a dire need for an instant outburst. This is not because I am ashamed of tearing up in front of others (not any more or so I would believe), but sometimes when the flood gates open, they also open doors for my inner demons that need to be shushed in private. (#choice)
It came to the point that I journal the cry events, compare notes from previous years, and whether the event occurred in public or private. This may sound bizarre, but you could call this a progress sheet for tracking patterns. It is also self-reflective in nature (one-on-one with my soul) to evaluate the events that lead to the cry, however small the latter might be.
This surprisingly improved my mental health for the better. So, if you are holding back those tears, bring them on. As I write this post, I just completed one of my scheduled sessions. I feel calm, and I can breathe. Really breathe.
Recommended reads – Shush!