And yet, when I found myself in the middle of a third eruption of inconsolable crying while having an emotional breakdown last week, I still felt ashamed of the tears streaming down my face.
The reason for my dissolution of rationality was the fact that gowns I had ordered online for a gala event did not work out in sizing/styling. When I tried the dresses on, my emotional fragility wasn’t even from feeling particularly bad about my body shape or size. Rather, that not having these gowns work out meant that I would need to put forth Herculean amounts of effort in finding new options in 48 hours—and that was too exhausting to even comprehend.
Honestly, the crying actually had to do with the fact that I was feeling overwhelmed about life in general. I have a full-time job, a part-time job and I’m trying to keep a small business venture afloat while being a good friend, sister, daughter, granddaughter and roommate, and staying on top of the endless list of mundane tasks that adults apparently have to do on a daily basis. The gown dilemma was merely the embroidered straw that broke this camel’s back.
Over the years, I’ve become an expert at swallowing frustration, fear, anxiety, joy, anticipation, pain and love until a later date when I have mental energy to examine the feelings. I suppress my feelings because I don’t want to be perceived as “emotional.” My breakdown last week came directly from my inability to process my emotions as they are happening. When I’m living a balanced life, that means taking the time to journal, pray and discuss life with people in my trusted circle. Unfortunately, too often I allow myself to become busy, preoccupied or just lazy about my emotional health and let every feeling, good and bad, build up until I combust. About twice a year, this combustion happens on a nuclear warhead level.
Things don’t have to be going badly for people to have bad days, nor do things have to be going well for people to have good days. Everything is relative and we all need to seek balance mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
So, why is it that “being emotional” has a negative connotation? Why do we, as humans, try to shove our feelings down our throats? Who were the first people who decided that we should fight our natural tendencies of experiencing visceral, emotional responses to the world around us and pretend that we are always fine?
I have no answers to those questions.
But, I am slowly (painstakingly, humbly) learning that the important thing isn’t to assign blame to someone or some event for shaping the way I’m supposed to think about how I’m supposed to feel. Rather, it’s important for me to recognize my emotions, acknowledge how they are impacting my present moment, and for the most part, bid them farewell so I can press on to conquer the challenges and enjoy the successes of life. It’s ok to be emotional. In fact, it’s healthy.
Note to self: If you find yourself gushing about how wonderfully everything is going in your life, remember that you are overcompensating and are probably 3 days away from a meltdown. So, when that inevitably comes: cry it out, feel the feels, and let things go. But then, put on your fancy replacement dress and enjoy a great event.