During much of my life so far, I have come to understand that I have loved drama. I respond to it, and I would often seek it out and perform in it. The dramatic aspects of life have energized me, helped me to feel vital and important, and also kept me quite acutely in tune with my emotions.
The most common way that those emotions have been expressed throughout the majority of my life is through my tears. Now, my tears and I have gone through many transitions over time. Initially, tears were a way for me to express my hurt, whether physically or emotionally. I would feel a physiological prompt, the lump in my throat, and then, the tears would come. I would cry, healing would begin, and then I would stop.
I then, over the course of my lifetime, found tears to fall easily when I would be moved emotionally by something. A song, a movie, a book, the words of someone that I love. Something that struck a chord within, be it a stranger or close relationship that brought it to me, could easily bring me to tears. These types of tears were most always tears that would stand in my eyes, maybe one or two would fall down my cheek. I would enjoy that feeling, the feeling of them standing in my eyes, right before the fall. I would look at myself in the mirror as they would fall. I was seeking validation I think in that mirror, wishing that instead of me looking back, there was someone sharing those tears with me.
I embraced my ability to express my feelings and let them be released. I didn’t feel ashamed or self conscious about my tears, and even felt like it was helpful to others to see a person who would openly express their emotions.
I then would produce tears that would most frequently come as a result of feeling anger. Instead of speaking my anger, truthfully and gracefully, I would cry, talking through my tears, feeling justified in feeling how I did, because after all, I am angry, and the other person’s actions were so awful that they brought me to tears. Feel a bit of self-absorbedness in these tears? Feel the transition from genuine expression to manipulation for attention?
After awhile, in the last few years of my life, tears became the expected response of mine to most everything. Happiness. Sorrow. Elation. Hurt. Anger. Those that I love would anticipate the tears, and wait for them to begin to fall.
It became a distraction from what was really going on. So, at times I would cry all alone, and feel that I was the only one who could TRULY understand. I had come to believe that through my tears, those around should be able to understand what is going on with me. I was using my tears, not my words, to connect with and communicate with others. HIGHLY ineffective, if I do say so.
Don’t get me wrong: I am not saying that tears aren’t a beautiful expression of emotion. I am not even dismissing their importance in my life, nor beating myself up for using them so frequently. I just need more from myself than this at my point in the journey.
I want to be more in tune with my emotions than just feeling moved by something to tears. I want to know what is really going on for me in those moments, and talk about it. I have come to understand and to realize that when I feel the urge to cry, it is a signal to me that I need to address something within. I don’t have to look at myself in the mirror; I don’t have to hope that someone around me notices tears standing in my eyes, and rushes in to comfort me.
I am learning to speak more, and to listen to myself more.
So, up to present day, 2010. I noticed this week that I feel the urge to cry less often, yet feel more engaged in my life than ever before. I also noticed that I feel the need to cry by myself hardly at all. And, when I do cry, I am directly working through what it is that needs to be addressed: a lack of connection with someone; a fear; a loss. And, I make a plan to right that by as much as that is in my control.
I no longer cry which becomes an end in itself, but my tears are now my gateway to broader knowledge about myself, and greater connection with others.
It feels marvelous.