Sunday, 30 September 2018

Big girls don’t cry

Are you a crier ? Do you break into tears at the slightest provocation ? That Dogs Trust commercial can set me off. Not proper heartfelt tears mind, those self pitying ones that are more about being tired and questioning whether or not I'm a good enough person for a pet to want me to adopt them. I also cry when I'm angry. This is not good. When I am trying to make a point and the only way I can do it is to sob or swear (usually both) I'm not at my best.

This year has been challenging. It's been tough in so many ways. Emotionally - I've had bereavements and relationship breakdowns. Practically - returning to full time work has been a huge adjustment for the whole family and I continue to marvel at the capacity for Hubbie and the boys to adapt in order to accommodate me.  Physically - I've been plagued by nothing serious, but small things requiring physio or rest (which I don't do often). In all of this time I kept going without taking the time to stop so I didn't cry. Well not properly - the occasional foot stamp and sob, but nothing major.


I usually have at least one weekend in the year when I take a break for myself and go somewhere nice and unwind. I sleep as long as I want to, spend time doing what I want to and just generally take it easy. I had planned to have that time away in April, but it didn't happen. Then I was going away in May instead and the car broke down so my relaxing evening became anything but. In a last ditch attempt to do this I was supposed to have a break this weekend and be back in time for my son's birthday. I really need this. Anxiety levels are critical now and the seal finally broke on the tears that haven't been cried all year.

At Soraya's funeral I cried during the short service at the crematorium - quiet personal tears. I had gone to the funeral on my own because Hubbie was at another funeral the same day - not a great start to the year for our family. It was a long day, sad and exhausting. For months afterwards I visited her partner and son to see how they were doing and would go home drained and tired from witnessing their grief. There isn't space to cry when the person in front of you is grieving so much and needs support. I would come home and Hubbie would hold me tight. No words, actual human contact and comfort from strong arms and a genuine concern for my wellbeing. Still no tears.

When I cut off my hair in her memory I felt incredibly sad and missed her so much. Facebook memories would remind me of something she had commented on or I would see a photo of us together smiling and laughing. The pain I felt for the friend I had lost then became about those around me who were hearing for the first time that they have cancer. I went straight into practical mode again. I needed to know I could be useful. It's all very well having feelings, but they don't get things done. Except I did have an overspill of feelings that were directed at entirely the wrong person


I'd love to say it was like Notting Hill where Julia Roberts looks at Hugh Grant and says, "I'm just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her," but it was far less dignified than that. This wasn't cinematic it was ugly, snotty, uncontrollable emotion. The kind that has been locked away for so long that it's just pouring out like a burst dam. It was so ugly in fact that rather than a reassuring hug or a soothing, "there, there, it's ok," I got nothing. Nada. So the tears stopped again. They have to don't they ? Being practical and not crying is the only way I can get on with things and make sure I don't fall apart. Until I do.

Now I'm a bit like one of those inflatable beach balls that you know has a hole somewhere because it's a bit soft and squishy. It's slowly deflating every time you use it, but you can't quite locate the leak. I am filled to capacity with sadness and tiredness and tears, but I can't find a safe space to put it all. It seeps out when I'm talking to someone and makes no sense at all. Who on earth would get that upset about such insignificant things ? Surely that's not normal. Hubbie doesn't judge or criticise, he wraps his arms around me and holds on as long as I want to. No words, no explanations.

I wanted to stay somewhere nice this weekend. I wanted to wake up late and go for a run. I wanted to just rest my eyes and my body and my mind. It wasn't to be. I also wanted to be around for my boys. To spend time with my family. To remember what it is to be a wife, a Mum, a daughter and a sister.

What I want and what I get aren't the same. Sometimes that is for the best.


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