A cry baby, difficult child, always whining and making a fuss, running about with no aim, singing and making up stories, screaming when unhappy, laughing when happy. Every emotion conceivable out on the open, like a one-child-full-circus performance. That was me. To certain extent still is. But it’s different now – less outward, more inward. I like to act up, be a little crazy, hyper and hype others around me.
But sometimes I do feel the pressure and sadness in me, struggling to get up some days, having trouble sleeping during others. In my previous post, I mentioned how working on Saila’s story had me facing up my own inner feelings, the hidden depressive episodes or trying to come to terms I don’t have to carry the world on my shoulders – just myself.
It was easy, as an emotional, uncontrollable child to just burst all the emotions out, make everyone aware I was having a feeling right then and there. But that caused a lot of trouble for me when growing up. I learned that not everyone wants to be part of my kaleidoscope of inner experiences. But at some point, somewhere around the time I was, oh, fifteen or so, I lost it. I wouldn’t, couldn’t cry, not in front of others. I was scared of that side of me.
And I taught myself not to. I trained myself to hold back, keep control. Instead of crying, I might get really angry. I would still experience the rollercoaster of emotions, but I would rather keep the negative in and let the positive out in massive bursts. It was, and I was, exhausting. But see, crying is good for you. It lets out pain, stress, fear, anger… It makes sure you won’t consume yourself in all those emotions.
I was just recently reminded by some good old friends how I shouldn’t pretend all is good when it’s not, I should tell them, reach out and let go. That there’s nothing wrong feeling bad, just as there’s nothing wrong feeling good. No one is omnipotent all the time.What with master thesis hand in day looming ever closer, once and a while a good cry is needed.
Secretly, over the past couple years, I’ve discovered what I call “the crying therapy”. There is a time and a place for showing your emotions, but not showing any isn’t healthy either. My therapy is simple; I deliberately read or watch something that I know will get me emotional. And I’ll keep watching and reading till I actually cry. I try to unblock a flood of stress, anxiety and fear that builds up as part of a normal ever-day experiences of being a student, of living far from your nearest and dearest or just being so damn tired that you need a good cry to balance yourself. See, I’ve always been extremely emotional, but a lot of the times I’ve been too afraid to go with it.
I’m trying to learn that if it makes you cry, cry. There’s a reason for it.
The way I read and the way I think about what I’ve read is something I’ve grown up with my mother, who is an avid reader and a gentle soul (but she lets her emotions out even less than me, so maybe there’s a family tendency to get emotionally constipated till eventual burst of the carefully built dams). I have always loved the world books and stories bring you in, and quite often, unexpected, catapult you into completely unknown. For example;
The Five People You Meet in Heaven (Mitch Albom) always got me thinking…
Twelve Years a Slave (Solomon Northup) – and other slave narratives, which were my primary focus in African American literary studies in Salzburg – real stories, real people… You know?
The poetry of William Blake has many that I know well, and always gets to me;
And more recently, I shed a good few tears over The Guillotine Choice (Michael Malone and Bashir Saoudi).
And films, my god the chimera of films! So many to mention… The Kid, The Elephant Man, Shawshank Redemption, Stand By Me, Sophie’s Choice, The Snowman, CInema Paradiso, The Boy in Striped Pajamas… I think the this clip is a good example; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtnrBEyVIwg
Music… This is harder to pick examples from. It gets you unexpectedly, anytime, anywhere and it can be a silly pop song you have memories with, or something that brings back bad memories, or other kinds of memories, confused thoughts, or brings you back to childhood fandom.
Random videos I’ve stumbled upon;