This weekend I cried. My wife and I have been working incredibly hard, and this weekend we got the opportunity to share life together. We stopped, and the tears came.
I have cried a lot over these last few years. There is an ongoing joke at my house that my kryptonite is Disney movies. For some reason, I work with people in dark places all of the time, but when the Disney movies come on, there is no stopping the tears. Everytime we begin a Disney movie, I believe that this time is going to be different. I get set, enjoy the movie, and then the tear-jerking scene begins as one of the characters does what they never thought they could.
In that moment, I am silent. My lips begin to quiver, the tears begin to form, and I cry.
Now I cry, but for years, I did not. I was, at the time, impervious, and I thought it was glorious.
For years I had fought against my own inner demons. I had fought shame and guilt and had lost. I had raging bipolar disorder, a very unhealthy self-hatred, the hormonal instability only puberty could bring, and no control over my tears.
I was in high school, and the one thing I wanted most was to be in control of my emotions. I did not want them to flair up uncontrollably. I wanted to be okay. Instead I ended up in the bathroom after 2nd period every day. I either needed to puke because of the medications, or I needed to cry. Either way, I locked myself in one of the stalls because I wanted no one to see the torture I was going through. Whatever pain this was, it was mine, and the rest of the world could not know.
After 2 years of that, I found the right concoctions to stay stable. I could smile again. I could walk from 2nd period to 3rd period without making a beeline to breakdown. I felt happy and I felt free. But I forgot how to cry.
Tears are interesting things, because they convey the deepest levels of hurt and anguish, and the highest levels of elation and bliss. They are beautiful. But I was without them.
I have heard numerous times that emotions are like water faucets. They only have two settings: on or off. For years, I did not want to feel the hurt and the pain, so I turned it all off. I put on a smile, ran out the front door, and hoped for the best.
After years, I wanted more out of life. I wanted to experience the elation and love. I began to turn the faucet back on and it hurt. I had years of unprocessed pain and brokenness that had built up inside of me. I wanted to turn my emotions back off, but I knew I could not. If I was going to be myself, I had to let the pain do its work. I had to mourn.
In the middle of the pain I found myself crying again during Disney movies. I loved to see characters overcome all of the odds and be somebody in the face of everyone who told them they could not. I saw myself in them. I knew that I was one of those characters who was told they were never going to make it, but was still celebrating at the end of the film. My soul resonated with the frequencies of love, hope, and fear conquered. My soul would rattle, and the tears began to flow.
This last weekend was a reminder. 15 years ago I shut off all of my emotions because, at the time, I could not handle them. They were far too big for my high school self to deal with. But when I shut down the emotions of pain and loss, I lost the others too. I lost what it was to love and be loved. I lost what it was to be free. I lost what it was to resonate with something so much that it made me break inside.
But then, after years of work, counseling, support and love, my heart has begun to heal. And now, I cry.