Truth: when I get time to myself I usually cry
It happened to me again this morning and last Friday. I have found that when I get a long moment to exhale in privacy, I end up in tears. Not always sad, exhausted over-worked tears. But not necessarily joyful tears either…just tears of strong emotions held in because I felt them but didn’t allow them fully at the time. And, I like it- even when it is feels painful.
By my very nature, I participate with people in their lives. My tendency to do this, to participate with other people in their life when I encounter them, is so very intrinsic to who I am that I cannot separate from it. Even when I judge it and try to fix it, it clings to me like muscle on bone.
My strength is in lifting others up. I have gotten better over the years- learned how to participate in a way that honors my contribution rather than trying to disappear into the other person. I keep trying to call myself a people-pleaser but what I do goes beyond pleasing someone else. Its seeing them and honoring their dignity and right to exist and to make choices and live them out in the world. I saddle up beside someone and bear witness to them. This sounds way deeper than I meant to go- please bare with me because I am only just now trying to wrap words around it.
By my very nature, I participate in other people’s lives. So, when I get to be alone- when I am not carrying around the agendas of anyone else, I dive deep down into spiritual contemplative places (in a book or podcast or in my own mind). I keep diving and digging around until I find something that awakens the gates of emotion and I let loose with wild freedom. I pour out my broken-open heart.
The emotions move and change shades- joy, fear, sadness, anger, gratitude, overwhelm, appreciation, relief and on and on.
This morning I cried for my dad- he died on November 18th, 2015. I miss him with so much ache and remember him with so much pride (that amazing man whom everyone looked up to was my daddy) that it feels good and right to dignify his life with my pure aching tears. He cried a lot too. It was his legacy, which he inherited from his father and his father’s father. He would regularly weep over his good fortune in life, over beauty, or over pride in Mom or in us. “It’s those damn Hilton tears again,” he would admit whenever he was standing with us in public weeping over grace, beauty, life, tragedy, you name it.
His tears felt safe, felt like a prayer.
This morning when I found myself, yet again, broken-open by something emotional which I sought out, I laughed- “why the hell do I do this to myself?” and then the question fell away. I realize that I cry because I want to feel; because emotions are beautiful and because I am alone and can do whatever the hell I damn-well please. I trust my tears, y’all. I am not afraid to cry. I relish crying. I cry because my Daddy cried and laughed at the same time. I cry because I know myself and I love the emotions when they pour out of me- when nothing is pent up.
I remember the first time that my tears came out in a moan. It scared me because I had never been so openly expressive. I felt embarrassed that this noise had risen up out of my being without any filter. I think I was 29 years old. 29 years- That’s how much of my life I had lived with a lid on my soul.
Now when I am alone, I peel off the lid and release what’s pent up and relish the experience of those damn Hilton tears.