Friday, April 3, 2009
Note: This was written last night at around 10:30pm.
I just had a good cry. There was a time, not too long ago, when I wouldn't or couldn't cry and call it good. That's not to say I haven't had good cries before. I've cried for joy and gratitude, but when I've cried out of pain or sorrow, no, it was never, ever, what you would call good.
I had a long and hard day. It started with a bang, literally, when my new alarm clock woke me with the loudest alarm I've ever heard. I know I jumped off the bed. Luckily, I didn't hit the floor. I was tempted to sleep for ten more minutes, but the idea of hitting the snooze button on that thing was more than I could bare. Now, that's an alarm clock that really gets one out of bed. But, that kind of masochist I am not, so it's going back to it's place on a store shelf.
The test I had at the hospital, the one I jokingly mentioned in an earlier post, was really rather stressful. For nearly two hours, I was zapped with electricity to determine how fast nerve impulses traveled in the lower half of my body. At first, every time I was zapped, my whole body would twitch, but I finally let myself breathe into it and relax. It didn't really hurt, but it was shocking, quite literally. I told myself that nothing bad was happening, for it wasn't, and chatted with the doctor. He excused himself for thinking out loud ("It helps me process"), so I encouraged him to speak louder, since I am studying medical transcription. As it turns out, my peroneal nerve is not conducting properly. A few exams ago, I spelled the word "peroneal" wrong (perineal), which is a common mistake. I'll never make it again.
I had other things to do today, and I won't go into every detail, but by 1:30 I felt wrung out and ready to drop. I hate catch phrases, I really do, but today was a good day to listen to something I learned in a twelve-step meeting a long time ago. HALT. This means pay attention to when you're hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. I think I should change it to SHALT, because sick should be on that list, but SHALT sounds rather encouraging.
Perhaps I should make my own acronym. How about SCHRUPIP (sick, crazy, hungry, resentful, upset, pissed off, and in pain)? It's almost impossible to say and if one tries, sounds rather like pronouncing the word "stupid" with a mouth full of marbles. I think I'll keep this one.
But I did cry tonight because I was Overwhelmed, Overtired, in Pain, and Sad, which leaps to OOPS. That makes a lot of sense. If I'm all of the above, "oops" is bound to follow, as I'm likely to do or say something I'd rather wished I hadn't. I could be as simple as continuing to go, go, go, and become even more overtired (which I did do yesterday) and injuring myself 'cause I'm being sloppy. Or, more usually, I'll get angry over something tiny, and blow-up, which leads to lots of crying and hurt feelings. That, thank goodness, hasn't happened in ages. I do believe I've learned my lesson.
So, back to good cries. We're pretty much told not to cry in this society. Women who cry are overemotional. Men who cry are wusses. It's okay to cry at weddings, funerals, and while watching sappy movies. Crying for joy is sometimes okay, but if you do it frequently, you are certainly suspect. Crying in public is completely out of the question, and people who are prone to doing so tend to stay in their homes for fear of looking like crazy people.
When I spent a few months living at the Kripalu Center, there was a lot of crying going on. Emotional displays were considered normal, and it was a freeing (and eye opening) experience. There were some days that I tired of the lack of stoicism, and the constant sharing of feelings. I can be a total ass (in my head, most of the time.) I have a macho streak, and I could play with that when I was a tattooist, saying to people I knew who were having trouble with the pain, "Suck it up, you wuss!" Maybe I've got a touch of dominatrix in me. That is certainly a possibility.
A touch of machismo or domination aside, I do wish showing our emotions wasn't such a taboo in this society. If you're not bubbly and chipper if you're a woman, or steady-as-he-goes if you're a man (and you're not queer) you are in a bit of trouble. Stuffing one's feelings is pretty much mandatory. No wonder so many people have chronic health problems, and secret mental health ones.
Crying - Roy Orbison (duet with k.d. lang)
Painting note: Henry Fuseli, "Loneliness at Daybreak", 1794-96.