old (2008), Uncategorized

on learning the value of crying

(“Say Goodbye” from Linzie Hunter, a recent addition to my art collection)

Years ago, when Rebel was a baby, I read an article in Mothering offering evidence crying was a necessary release, not only for those lacking verbal communication skills but for everyone. It serves as a release of tension, frustration, and mental claustrophobia — and also a valve through which we can let out an excessive amount of positive feeling: happiness, excitement, pure joy. Fuck that, I thought, Crying is for babies. And perhaps I even believed this, given that every relationship I’d ever been in had been with men who believed crying was a form of manipulation, something people (women) did to make other people (men) feel guilty or bad or otherwise horrible. I never agreed but also didn’t have much reason to believe (or self-esteem to argue) that they were wrong.

I find myself on the verge of tears this evening not because I am frustrated (though I am) or angry (ditto) but, rather, because I am happy. Not everything is as how I would envision a “perfect life” for myself, but that’s quite incidental to the fact that I am sitting here:
  • listening to music I don’t need to justify to anyone else;
  • waiting for dinner to cook that I don’t have to convince anyone else is a “normal” meal;
  • anticipating a reality TV show coming on that I owe no one else an apology for liking;
  • living the “literary” life I’ve always wanted;
  • exploring a new relationship with no expectation (on either side) of how either one of us should be or feel or act; and
  • realizing life isn’t something to wait to happen, but something happening all around me.
There are a thousand loose ends strewn about my life, but none of them will undo me if it were to be yanked out from under me. My life has stopped being fragile, dependent upon others, or variable according to someone else’s mood or opinions, and has morphed into a menagerie of pleasant sentiments and small comforts and hearty laughs and little grins and quiet excitement and devilishly sweet everyday experiences that come together and make me realize, as I feel it all welling up, that crying may have once been for babies, but I’m not the person who said that anymore.