The courage in my tears...
These tears that fall carry with them no shame
They do not signify a weakness
Or that I am broken into pieces
They show my strength
And my ability to feel
Bravely tracing a line down my cheeks
Each drop a sacred release
Each drop a symbol of my courage
Not a mark of imperfection, but a declaration of my softening
Each drop bringing a lightness and relief to my heart
Don't try and wipe my tears away
Don't feel uncomfortable and helpless as I cry
It is not your job to fix me
It is not your job to prevent this emotional experience from spilling out in all it's beautiful messy glory
I am not ashamed of this emotion
I am not ashamed of this form of expression
Last week I cried. I felt the tears building for days and days, and then like an avalanche I allowed them to pour out in a cascade of energy, releasing fear, sadness, anger, overwhelm and leaving behind a beautiful feeling of emptiness.
For a very long time I took great pride in the fact that I didn't cry very often. The only times I would emotionally unravel was when I was so anxious and scared that I didn't have a choice but to surrender to the tears. And this was only ever behind closed doors.
During my lowest points, when I was full of anxiety and panic, I amazed myself at the ability to flick between a snotty crying mess, to a polished professional if my phone rang and a client was on the end of the line. I saw it as a skill to hide myself from the world - but in reality it was just an emotional band aid.
I nicknamed myself the 'ice queen' and joked about my cold exterior as though it was a badge of honour, but deep down I felt like there was something wrong with me for not being able to feel the emotions that others seemed to. I couldn't feel any of it - apart from when I was drowning in anxiety - and that was so intense that I began to associate any form of 'feeling' as something frightening. The easiest thing to do was to 'switch off' and block out all sensation.
The problem with that was that it wasn't only the challenging emotions I lost feeling for - it was also the things that make life feel worth living. Joy. Pleasure. Love. Connection. Trust.
I constantly questioned where the real me had gone. I knew that growth and change was inevitable - but I used to feel excited about things, I used to look forward to experiences, I used to laugh and dance and cry. For the main part of my life - these feelings were very very dim.
Why so scared?
I was fearful of being seen as weak or vulnerable. I associated crying with not being strong enough. I worried that others would think I was not capable or couldn't cope, or that I would be passed off as 'too emotional' to be taken seriously.
To me, tears were connected with sadness and grief and I didn't want to experience those feelings. They were too raw and I couldn't deal with the sensations in my body that they brought to me. The tightness in my throat, the sinking in my tummy, the ache in my heart. The fear of losing control.
I also feared that if I showed my tears to people that I loved they would suffer too, and I wanted to protect my loved ones from any pain or sadness that I could.
I didn't want others to feel like they had to fix me.
I realise now that when someone cries they are not asking asking to be fixed, they are not broken, and if we try and patch over the tears and tell them not to cry - we actually take away their ability to express something that is true for them in that moment.
Having spent so long unravelling my own truth (and still very much being on that rollercoaster journey) I never wish to suppress someone else's truth. Even if it isn't something I understand wholly myself.
It actually takes greater strength to feel and to express tears than it does to block the feelings.
I held back the tears for years, and felt more and more numb
The ice queen persona that I embodied for decades doesn't serve me anymore. I am not an uncaring person and to put that energy into the world feels totally out of alignment with the core of who I truly am.
I am a woman who feels very deeply. So deeply in fact that for a while back there I didn't understand the intensity of these feelings and felt that my only option was to dull them.
I portrayed someone who didn't care, who had no compassion, who didn't show emotions. But I was depriving myself of one of the greatest gift of life.
To feel. To truly feel.
With that feeling comes the ups and the downs. But I accept that I cannot have one without the other. I have cried more tears in the past 6 months than I have in the past 16 years, and yet, I feel stronger than I ever have done.
My tears can be delicate and gentle - a soft release in a beautiful moment. Or they can be like a tidal wave of snot-filled emotion surging through my whole body. Both are magical and mystical to me and both bring me the sweetest release.
Physically I feel lighter and less stagnant inside. My throat opens, my heart feels spacious and my skin feels cleansed.
Emotionally I feel freedom, curiosity at what each tear might represent, and pure love towards myself for being brave enough to experience my truth in that moment.
Numbness is not my chosen route anymore.
You can't bypass the sh*t feelings without bypassing the magical feelings. You can't have light without dark. You can't have sunshine without a shadow.
As soon as I accepted that tears were representative of my emotional wellbeing, and that by trying to stifle down any form of emotional release that needed to be suppressed lead to a total feeling of un-ease in my physical and energetic body, I finally let go of some of the judgement I had towards myself about what it meant to express the feelings we are lead to believe are 'negative'.
Each time my tears flow now I am grateful for that sweet release.
Just like any mindset change or transition in life - it takes time, gentleness and courage to allow the shift to occur.
Crying is not for the weak - it is for the brave.
And you are brave enough.
Can you see the courage in your tears?