Friday, August 20, 2010

Crying: It's *My* Lost Art Form

I'm not really the kind of person that wears their heart on their sleeve.  I don't often show emotion - I am always the chick smiling and  cracking a 'yo mama joke.  I'm mad?  Oh, I'll just smile.  Sad?  I've got a joke ready.  Anxious?  A "no, I'm totally fine" will escape my  lips.

This irks my therapist to no end because I try as hard as I can to have the same laid back, "it's all good" demeanor in therapy.  It isn't always easy to get work done when I have a joke ready at every turn.  But I can't help it.  It's just the way I am.

I'd say for the past month or so, I have cried more in therapy than I ever have, but when I cry, I like cover up my face with my hands and curl up in some pretzel-like ball and cry like I'm ashamed of it.  Because I am.

I did it again today in therapy.  In fact I was trying so hard not to cry, I was pretty close to working myself up to a nice, old-fashioned, panic attack - you know, cue the numb extremities and the shallow breathing and the muted cursing.  My hands were flitting around nervously and I was looking around restlessly (everywhere but AT my therapist) and my foot was jiggling a gazillion miles a minute and it was like FOR HELLZ SAKES BRIE, JUST CRY!  I think I'm discovering I make a bigger fool out of myself by not crying, than by actually shedding an errant tear or two in therapy because of how worked up I make myself.  Sometimes not crying is actually a real task.

So after I had a good cry, (yes, the tears won) and maneuvered myself out of my pretzel to surface for air, my therapist could have reacted in one of two different ways:
She could have made fun of me.  Because hell, let's be honest, she makes fun of me all the time, and my Pretzel Cry of Despair was kind of funny.
She could take the high road, and not crack a joke for once, and tell me she was really proud of all the work I'm doing in therapy, and that she knows I've been through a lot this past year, more than most ever have to go through, what with recovering from my ED, and mourning the loss of my daughter, and dealing with all the goo that made me have an ED in the first place, and Some Other Stuff I Don't Want to Talk About on My  Blog, etc.  She could tell me that I'm amazingly strong, and that she wasn't just "saying that."

She took the high road.  And that felt really, really good to hear all that.  :)

So what's the next step in this whole "I'm uncomfortable and don't cry or show emotion" journey?
Yep, you guessed it.  A VIDEO OF ME CRYING.  Wouldn't ya'll just LOVE to watch a video of me on this blog crying for like 33 minutes of un-cut, un-edited TEARS and EMOTION and DRAMA and SNOT?  That would certainly be a way to push this strict no crying phobia I've got...

Something to ponder.

For now, I'll continue just cracking jokes and wiping my tears and snot in private.
Sound good?


Missy said...

Hi Brie,

I have a thing about crying....doesn't it kinda feel good? I feel the most in touch with who I really am and my feelings when I do cry.

I Think looking at someone in their tears and in their TRUE laughter offers the truest, most beautiful glimpse of who they are. I mean tears and laughter have no
biological function, really. They are purely spiritual actions... like little gifts from God.

Not sure I can explain it well. Just that, to me, crying is most certainly not a weakness. Just a release.

PS- If you think it will help bring on the waterworks. We all know you have no phobia of sharing your snot with us!

Shanllleigh said...

I am that way too and last time in therapy I was a crying mess. I left that session with mascara smeared under my eyes and tiny pieces of tissue all over my lashes. I was red faced and snotty too lol I was so embarassed and I guess I needed a good cry. I am sorry things are so tough right now. I enjoy your blog a lot I hope you work out whatever issues you are having with it.

Kerri said...

I am totally the opposite. I cry pretty much every single time I go to therapy. In fact, I stopped going a while ago because it drained so much energy from me when I went (though I know I need to be there). I am embarrassed when I cry too, but it just happens and I can't make it stop. I am the crazy girl that cries on the train at the end of the day because sometimes my brain won't let me stop thinking about whatever horrible thing happened and I don't know how to keep the tears from showing up. I had hair to my waist until 2 years ago because I used it to hide myself when I couldn't stop. Lame right? lol

Flannery said...

(So I love your blog and lurk all over it. Thought I'd comment today.)

I'm all for the crying video!! My therapist is throwing shit like that at me right now, too. "The sister of Shame is Secrets--keep it a secret, and you will stay ashamed of it."

So yeah! Doooo iiitttt.

Anonymous said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I approach emotion exactly the same way. Twisty pretzel, looking everywhere else, wiggly foot, find the humor. I've never cried in front of my therapist, or cried afterward... Until last week. And then she poked and poked my brain with questions and I got all "dark and twisty," and after she marveled about how she's never seen me this emotional, she APOLOGIZED that I was probably going to feel like that for a little while longer after the appointment. And she was going to ask me about it the next time. Well, a good four hours later, I finally cried. All I can think of now is "FINE. YOU WIN. I CRIED. YOU WIN!" I'd love for it to be a more "cleansing" cry, but it's not there yet. Hilarious. ;o)

allegri said...

I am soooo totally the same way. I had a total breakdown at work last night, and people could see it coming from a mile away. The whole shaking- barely breathing || this close to tears, rashing away, and telling everyone "No, I am a-okay" Cue the tears. Ugh. I hate it.

I am glad W took the high road, because it totally may have smoothed over the ocean of tears, but really wouldn't have helped you -outside of that very moment.

Praying for you my dear.

bananas said...

I cried a few tears before my appointment today, almost cried during, and then afterward sobbed my guts out for at least a half hour. It was so bad that I had to take something to calm the f down. Then I ended up sleeping for a while which I needed after all that.

Emotions shemotions! It sucked.

Sarah said...

I don't mind CRYING, but how I look AFTER I cry. I look disgusting for like 30 hours!!! My eyes get super puffy and my nose stays red and I look like I'm having an allergy attack or something. I feel like my "day after crying" face is SOOO obvious, and that's what really pisses me off--I expressed my emotion, goshdarnit, can't we just move on without letting others know?!! :) But seriously, I haven't thought about this too much but I agree with the first commenter--it is a spiritual thing to experience tears. My grandpa died in April and I have been really conscientious about allowing myself to think about him when he pops into my mind, even if I wind up crying, because I WANT to process my emotions instead of burying them. I WANT to remember him instead of shoving him down into a dark part of myself; that's most honoring, and as you grieve Kendall still, just remember that crying is a way that you can honor and remember her and what she meant to you. xoxo