My eyes, the delightful companions that they are, are exceptionally sensitive to the wind. Blend in a cold morn with a tempestuous breeze and my face is sure to leak.
A few days ago, while walking down the street, I felt a stream of wet salt dribbling across my nose and into my parted lips.
It was a cold, winter’s day. The sun’s gleam fell somewhere behind a thick veil of cloud nesting it. On the earth’s surface, near to my traverse, a spot of gust and a whirl of flurry penetrated through the air, cutting it like a whip’s lash. A sonorous howl echoed through alleyways and narrow pockets built betwixt apartment buildings and shop fronts. Despite the biting weather though, the street was busy. A cavalcade of agitated feet, all occupying different directions and speeds, environed me.
As I attempted to clench my stiff hand in order to wipe away the thin, still river now almost frozen on my face, a woman, a kind woman of about 40 years, stopped dead in her tracks and turned to me.
“Umm, excuse me,” she said. “Are you okay?”
At first, her question confuzzled the shit out of me. What an odd question, why wouldn’t I be okay? But then I realised that my eyes were likely puffed in red vein, and my face was undoubtedly glistening a thin sheen.
I laughed and said: “Oh, yeah, I’m fine. I’m perfectly fine. I’ve just exceptionally sensitive eyes.”
There, woman’s face, carved of concern and worry for a perfect stranger, softened. Her brows lifted as her plush lips smiled. “Oh, yeah,” she said, not at all embarrassed. “It’s damned cold, isn’t it?”
“Indeed, it is,” I replied. “Have a beautiful day.”
“You too,” she said, still smiling, where she faded into the parchment of rushing forms and dreary frowns making the milieu.
Despite that, on this occasion my tears were a result of a crisp winter’s day, generally speaking, I’m a crier. A big fat crier.
I always have been. Strong currents of emotions have made knots of my body for as long as I can remember. What can I say; my eyes are as feeble as my feelings are sensitive. It’s just how I’m wired, I suppose.
For most of my life though, I resented this fact. I hated feeling so deeply, so often, sometimes without any reason. I didn’t understand why my body would randomly dance with sadness or pain or agony or laughter, consequently bringing tiny parcels of liquid to my eyes.
So what I’d do then, to drown out these tears, these emotions, was bottle them up, drink them in, and then piss them out as soon as possible, away from prying eyes.
I always saw such a morbid display of unnecessary emotion and feeling as a sign of weakness. Not even to others, but to myself. Whenever I felt the urge to let a tear seep out from my eyelids, I’d do whatever I could to catch it, and shove it back up there.
Just knowing that I had a small, dewy little friend creeping up on me was enraging. Why are you here? Why the fuck am I crying? I’d ask myself, desperately, anxiously, needing to what had stirred them, and brought them to surface.
Later, years later, when I found out that depression was largely genetic, and also strongly associated with heavy feeling, I realised that these tears had to be shed.
It dawned over me that these tears, my tears, had their own course to explore. That these tears, my tears, had to be let free, and let go.
Our world doesn’t particularly value emotion. What we value is a cool, calm and collected head, and level shoulders. We value reason, cold hard reason. But emotion is often reason’s antithesis. It makes no sense, and responds to a different call; a call having little to do with consciously derived logic.
And so because of this, what so many of us do is we pack our tears, our emotions into neat little boxes, shelve them away, and hope that they don’t escape later. We heap them onto our plates, poke our forks through them, shovel them into our mouths, and digest them in our gullets, so that they never again see the light of day.
There’s an issue with this though, the issue: If you push a balloon down at one end, its other end will inevitably snap.
The thing about emotions is that we can’t swallow them and pee them out, like I would always try to do. If they’re there, they’re there. There’s no denying them. And what’s more; tears, emotions, aren’t to be feared.
Instead, they’re to be celebrated. Revered. They’re to be expressed; they’re to be let out for the world to see. They’re to be captured and used. They’re to be drawn from and turned into poetry, music, drawings and paintings.
Emotions are what tell us that we’re alive.
Emotion is life’s navel, and from it, from the supple and sweet fig tree that it represents, we can feed and grow and blossom.
Whether our emotions hug at sadness’ hip, clinging for dear life; or whether they elevate us to Zeus’ Cloud Nine, we should take them as they are, so that we can learn from them, benefit from them, and understand them with greater lucidity.
I know it’s hard sometimes. Especially if the emotions you’re facing aren’t pretty. But in order for us to grow into healthier selves, we mustn’t deny what’s already there. We must embrace it, accept it, and move on, free from its burden, and perhaps a little bit wiser.
Well that’s what I reckon.
What are about you weirdos? Are there any criers among you? Come on – spill.
Humans-are-weird. And highly emotional creatures.