Monday, April 21, 2008

You can cry if you want to...?

Crying...that reaction has plagued me my whole life. I know it's necessary at times, but I hate it.

I was the quintessential "crybaby" as a kid. I cried over everything and nothing, and the rain this weekend made me think about why I did that so much.

I think I was struggling with anxiety and depression even as a kid. I remember the start of 4th grade as being really traumatic for me because of so many changes in my life. My mom went to work full time, my sister's world was no longer as accessible (she was a teenager and I wasn't), and Dad was starting up on his night-owl habits at the shop.

I cried most every day the first few weeks of school, and it gradually died down, but it did cost me. I think it cost me friends I could have kept all the way through school. Other kids thought it was funny and would tease me about it but I guess I did deserve it. I didn't want to be teased but I kept on crying. My family was embarrassed about it mother would get frustrated, my sister was embarrassed about me, and Dad didn't know WHAT to do.

Over the years, I have cried at inappropriate times and only much later realized it cost me things. It wasn't the act of crying itself, but what I was crying ABOUT. I was crying about things that I couldn't change and crying about things I could change. Youth tends to do that to a person. For whatever reason, I was incapable of sorting the wheat from the chaff. I couldn't let the feelings die down and think about how I could change the situation. Crying all the time cost me friends.

Crying cost me jobs as well...when emotions go up, thinking goes down. I've been sent home for crying, and that's the most embarrassing feeling in the world. It's like you're a kid and you're being sent to your room but it's not your fault, it's the fault of whoever/whatever made you cry and they're not being punished for it, YOU are.

This morning, we hit traffic and it was UG-LY with a capital UG. There was an accident on the Beltway, and DR started to gripe and freak out about it. I could have cried about his reaction, but I didn't.

I yelled at him instead.

It was equally inappropriate but it was the only thing I could think of that would cut through his rant and get a message across.

Some days I still have trouble, but at least I'm learning that tears are only one part of the solution...thinking it through is the other part and that's the hardest one.