by Maria Ilona Moore
You know the feeling. There’s a prickling behind your eyelids and a lump in your throat. Your face is hot and when you try to speak the words quiver out of your mouth and shatter.
You’re about to cry.
And, for whatever reason, you try to hold it in. You blink and look at the ceiling, as if fixing your eyes on some imaginary point will reverse gravity on the tears spilling down your cheeks.
You wave your hands to fan your face and you apologise. You tell whoever you can not to worry, that you’re just being silly and you brush it off, accepting the notion that this expression of your feelings is something to be ashamed of. Afraid of being labelled as ‘over-dramatic’, you try to own it before anyone else has the chance.
Maybe you wipe the tears from your cheeks, smooth down your shirt, take a deep breath and go back to work. Maybe you stay in bed all day, exhausted from the weight of your weeping. Maybe you wait in the dark of the cinema after the film ends, sobbing secretly and silently as the credits roll. Maybe you don’t know if you will ever be able to stop.
Maybe you cry yourself to sleep, or until your head aches and your eyes are sore, or until the tears flood your room and sweep you away.
Maybe you didn’t realise that you could cry from joy too, and love, and pride. And that it would feel like your heart was bursting and that you wouldn’t hold back those tears, but would still be embarrassed for feeling so much. That it would still fill you with tension as much as it fills you with warmth.
Maybe it isn’t you crying but someone you love and your heart breaks with theirs and you try to bundle up the pieces to stop them falling apart, but you can never quite hold all of them at once.
Maybe you feel none of these things and maybe you feel all of them.
We cry, we wipe away tears, we wail, we clench fists, we howl, we stamp feet. All under the pretence that our feelings aren’t valid, or that they are simply too much.
So maybe it’s time to open ourselves up to vulnerability. To be honest about our feelings and to stop apologising for our tears. To cry out loud to anyone and everyone.
Maybe we start taking our tears as a signal that something is missing, that something isn’t right. And maybe we try to fix it. Maybe we ask for help. Maybe we say this is how I’m feeling right now and I’m not going to deny it. Maybe we roll with it.
Maybe it’s time to cry our hearts out.