Tears

I have been free-forming emotions this week. Processing grief has been a valuble learning exercise for me. I have allowed emotions to come and go as they arise. The interesting thing about all of this is tears. They aren’t always sad. This is the most surprising thing of 2020. I thought I would be sad all the time. Tears are hovering just below the surface and sometimes they leak out because I am sad or angry, but sometimes its because I am happy.

I wouldn’t call myself a cryer. But if I look back to the times in my life where I was the happiest – I was definitely a cryer. The last five years or so I have stuffed my emotions deep down into the socks I wear. I don’t pay attention to them. I have been missing out on joy and happiness because I have been numbing myself so I don’t feel sad.

THIS IS REVOLUTIONARY.

I am slightly angry at me for wasting so much time trying to get the wrong people to love me. Okay – let’s face it, I am downright pissed I did that. I told my mom I didn’t think I was lovable for a really long time and I think that broke her heart a little bit. We determined I was loveable, I was just asking the wrong people to love me. I went for a Reiki session and have done all kinds of inner-child work (whoa…that was painful). Then, finally, I am nurturing myself with a dose of allowing. News Flash, you don’t have to ask people to love you. The right ones just do.

I allow feelings to flow. It happens at weird times and places. Like work…ug… that is the worst but the reactions at work have been surprisingly caring. I didn’t expect that. I am not sure why, I work in a culture that is very caring, perhaps the most caring place of my entire career. The place that you would think was supposed to be the most nurturing was the most harmful to me. I also find that interesting – and I resent that because I thought there was something wrong with me – nope it was them.

The other day I was scrolling through Instagram and saw this:

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I loved this post by @haleydrewthis  because LOOK AT ALL THE HAPPY MOMENTS! This inspired me to write my own list. I think it is important for me to recognize the happy and sad moments and allow those tears to flow. crying feels great when it is over. I am here for it.

  1. Standing over my baby’s crib listening to tiny baby snores.
  2. Laying down with my pal Cap on the stairs and feeling his heartbeat.
  3. Standing on the balcony in Irving and looking at the pool before I leave knowing this is it.
  4. Sitting on a rock in Big Sur and watching whales swim by.
  5. Holding my friend’s hand when her mom died.
  6. Sitting in meditation asking for help to move forward.
  7. On the floor of my classroom hearing the words “your grandpa is in the hospital and it doesn’t look good”
  8. Sitting and my desk when my mom said, Gram died through the night.
  9. The Good Place series finale when everyone walks through the door.
  10. My very first half marathon having my kids walk with me across the finish line.
  11. Standing in the ocean at Tofino with the hubs waiting for me onshore.
  12. Every time my kids sit with me and we laugh.

Good, bad and ugly – life is awesome.

Grief

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I am reading Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult. It’s funny how the things you need know to show up in your life. I didn’t know I needed this and yet here we are. I have read a few of her books, I wouldn’t call myself an avid fan, but I do like some of her work. This novel has a character researching elephants and their grief. One line stuck out for me, “Elephants handle grief better than humans.” It felt like a smack across the head. One of those moments where time slows down and I honed in on that line.

Okay Universe, I am listening.

Recently-ish, a relationship that was very important to me ended. It was okay! I was in a calm peaceful place. Then I wasn’t.  The hubs and I had a conversation. What I am feeling? Is it judgement? Disappointment? Jealousy? Anger? Nope, we figured it out. It is grief. All the stages, all at once.

I am terrible at grief. I am terrible at emotions in general. I cry and then eat those feelings into numbness. When my grandpa died, I acted out in terrible ways because I didn’t let the emotions happen. The loss of important things in my life are typically not handled well. The guidance I have received in the past was ‘stiff upper lip and get on with it’ type of advice. Being an empath, you’d think I’d be good at processing emotions but for me it’s more of a Harry Potter/Dementor type scenario. I can feel life being sucked from me. I can now recognize what I need. Hugs and sympathy from random people are not it. I need boundaries. That includes me expressing my needs and giving in to self-care.

Elephants will stand in solidarity with their family and usually hover over the corpse of their loved one for days, only leaving for food and water. They sit in their feelings. They touch and connect with their loved ones. They cry and feel their emotions. I think I can learn from this.

It takes me a long time to get over something and I think it’s because I don’t let it sit in me. I keep pushing it away and masking it. I don’t want to take five years to get over something. I want to feel the sadness and grief and then eventually look at those memories with fondness. I want to face this head-on.  I can look at memories of my great-grandma and my grandfather with fondness now, but that took a hell of a long time. But it’s only been recent memory that a friendship break-up from five years ago has healed. Does it take that long? Would it have happened sooner if I didn’t numb myself and stick my head in the sand? I think yes.

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I am journaling about this grief because that is my process. I am not a talker. It takes someone asking a lot of questions before I will talk. I always feel lighter after the words are on the page. I can’t be the only one who takes a long time to pass through grief. What is your process?