As human as we are, sometimes the inevitable flies right out of our mouth and falls on the ears of those we love. When something is important to us, to the very core, it will eventually come out. That happened to me today. It was not however, accompanied by an ugly cry. I'll get to that in a moment.
The very things we think we need to keep to ourselves tend to wash over us and affect us in ways we don't expect. Bottling things up inside, doesn't help any situation, and when you're running on fumes anyways, well, guess what?
The thing is, is you can't keep everything bottled up or it just seeps out. And in some cases, explodes in a moment of unintelligible and mumbled words.
I received a Christmas gift that truly affected me. It was the kind of gift that begins with the "ugly" cry. You are so overwhelmed that the hot tears just fall on their own, and it ends with a sobbing and shaky hug because even though it may seem minute to everyone else in the room, it just isn't to you. As everyone stares at you while you wipe the slobber and snot off of you faces, they will quickly return to their activity so that they do not get swallowed up in to your emotions. Realizing that the person who gave you the gift was equally as moved, that's some pretty powerful stuff.
Then I watched as the kids played with their cousins for two days. I took mental notes of how they interacted and I realized that if they only knew what was lying in the future of uncertainty maybe they would take stock in what was happening. But they are children. And maybe they don't need to know just yet. The thought washed over me that one day, one of them might not be there. I know that sounds so terrible and dismal, and I don't intend it to be, but it raced through my mind like a thousand wild horses crossing a prairie at once. It made my heart beat fast, matching the hoof beats that sounded like thunder. And I literally had to fight back tears. Because how many of us as adults DO know this? And yet we continue to carry on as if there is a guaranteed tomorrow. Is it because the time it takes to truly live life like there is no tomorrow is emotionally expensive? Is it too hard? I'm not talking about predicting terrible deaths or accidents, but we DO know that we are not guaranteed a tomorrow, and yet, we pretend it's too dark of a subject to cope with. We use the excuse "well, you can't live like that everyday!". My friend, you can. It's called daily PRACTICED gratitude. And it is so very easy. It's in the palm of your hand, right now.
I know some aren't wired to worry about it. And we shouldn't necessarily worry about it. But it should cross our minds in certain moments. Beyond all of the tangible gifts we covet each holiday season and the irony of spending hours trying to find the perfect gifts, we should remember those who have crossed over before us. We should remember them. We should spend our time with those important to us. Because it can literally shove you right into a moment of precise and clear intentions of holding on to a memory. It is how our brains sears those memories like a brand into the medial temporal lobe. It is WHY we have memories, they feed our soul. All of the education in the world is worth nothing if you have a life that is emotionally empty.
I just took it all in. What I think happened in that moment was pure exhaustion. I am emotionally so exhausted that full function didn't come easy the last couple of days. All of the build up of the holidays, the forcing of the preparation and the final few days as it comes to a screeching halt, causes us to experience a sort of "coming down", and we sink back in to reality that the magic of the holiday is gone. That some humans (a small portion) will return to their vile and selfish existences without second thought. While the rest of us with souls that are like a dry sponge soak up the remnants and stock it up for the year to come. I fought who I am for so very long. I pushed back all the emotions out of fear and insecurity. I was closed off and almost hateful, until I came very close to tumbling in to a pool of sheer misery. It's a self inflicted drowning if you will. You know you're just hurting yourself and that you are suffocating under your true self, but you fight it anyway, you just keep shoving your face back down under the black water. The life of an emotionally hard-wired person (some call us over-sensitive, offensive by the way) can be just like that. It takes one person to open the floodgates. After hating the person who opened my floodgates, I now am grateful for him.
I'm not there now, I will never go back to that place, but I am emotionally exhausted. Literally running on fumes. I struggled with that subject this week. Like some sort of embarrassing nail fungus, like there must be something wrong with me because I am so emotionally empty. I hid it. I fought it. I wanted to punch it in the face and scream at myself "What the hell is wrong with you?" But it's because I was running on empty at the peak of the season. And it's because I had suppressed feelings that I had. When we allow ourselves to run on fumes for so many weeks, we just collapse under ourselves. Some of us struggle with it. It isn't depression. It isn't a "sickness". It's just the lifestyle of being emotionally wired in to all of our situations I suppose, we are literally hardwired to feel our way through life. And the most important thing, is that IT IS OKAY. It will be okay. Who you are is absolutely 100% okay.
The reservoir doesn't stay empty for long. Those of us wired to not wallow in total self pity will bounce back after we've reached our "full" capacity, and the cycle starts all over again. When we fight who we are is when it becomes an all encompassing and suffocating problem.
You know though? As much as I fought it, I wouldn't change it. Because if that wasn't who I was, to my very core, then the gift that was given to me wouldn't have pushed me into a state of embarrassing "ugly cry". I wouldn't have the emotional capacity to operate with a house full of children for a weeks time, I couldn't look at their faces and hold their tiny hands and smother them with love and remember that. I wouldn't be able to feel anything at all. And what a shame to pass up those memories and the realization that every single day is important to take stock in. All of them, even the ones that seem so unimportant. And to a few of you reading this, even the days as children when we ran around the backyard in mock Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costumes, were important. That time with my cousin and my uncle were important for me, for my brother and sister, and for Eric. My brain recalled that particular memory while watching the kids interact with all of their cousins. That was a gift to myself, apparently, one I had been saving for these exact moments. And while I didn't ruin the kids time by making them stop to take a look around, I sure did make a mental note for myself of these days that are before me.
I miss Dan. Every December 7th, every December 23rd, and every other single day of the year. I miss my cousin, Daniel, every single painful day, and I miss my Uncle Rick. There are others, but those particular 3 have a special place in my day, each and every day. Every one of them taught me a lesson that I can never repay them for, aside from paying attention to life and each breath I am given.
I am grateful for the lessons they have taught me. Because I would otherwise be running on empty all the time. That just isn't an option. While I fight back tears as I put the words to paper, as I wipe them away, I am equally grateful for them. We have all been through the worst, losing a loved one is the worst, the rest IS an absolute cakewalk. Because a life without love and pain and passion and emotional memories just isn't a life at all.
I hope that YOUR "ugly cry" gift is right around the corner, or that quite possibly you are recovering from one. (Cassie.) *insert stupid winky smiley here*
Fill up the tank. Start all over again. Just sit back and see how amazing the next year can be. Just make sure you don't end up on fumes.
Happy New Year!