I sent a friend a text message with a heads up that I was going to go off in search of a nice hole to climb inside of and hide for days.
Okay, a month tops (I like Thanksgiving too much to be in hiding when all that gratitude and yumminess comes out of the woodworks).
She asked me where I was going.
“Someplace with Kleenex and Ibuprofen.”
I was dead serious about the Kleenex and Ibuprofen, but I was entirely kidding about the hole. While that is incredibly tempting when conflict and stress and overwhelming obstacles seem to be tearing us apart from the inside out, I am certain that hiding will solve nothing.
I’m also certain that with large amounts of crying comes a headache that is worthy of a comparison with one of any significant hangover.
Those times when all we want is a vacation and a drink on the beach? The problems we’re trying our best to escape from will still be there when we walk off the beach and back into reality.
The conflict and drama that make us want to grab the closest alcoholic beverage? We only find the very same problems at the bottom of that empty glass.
And ignoring these things by walking away, or hiding, or refusing to address them, that doesn’t make them truly go away, does it? They’re still there, but now they’re chasing us as we turn each corner trying to evade their notice.
And so, this week I faced the conflict and the stress instead of hiding in that hole that seemed so d*mn tempting, and do you know what happened?
I ran out of Kleenex.
My body released a torrent of emotions this week. It was exhausting and cathartic all at once. I fell to the floor at one point, so overtaken by tears that I lost my breath.
I carried a box of Kleenex with me from one room to another.
I faced my battles, head on, Kleenex in hand.
I looked at myself in the mirror and I realized that I didn’t mind the tears. I could deal with the puffy eyes and the red, splotchy complexion. Even the raging headache wasn’t much of a deterrent.
What I knew was that I couldn’t live with the possibility of looking in that mirror again and seeing not my eyes, but the eyes of a person I no longer respected. I knew that if I didn’t take a stand for myself in front of that mirror about how I wanted to face the world—I wouldn’t be as in love with the person looking back at me as I was in that moment.
Self-love and self-respect are often hard earned and even harder to earn back once lost. We are usually harshest on ourselves, after all.
So while I wanted to run—to a hole, a beach, a drink, anything—I didn’t. I dried those tears and I found myself under that pile of used tissues. Turns out, she didn’t drown in that rainstorm of tears.
And now, now I feel as though I have reached the calm of my storm. There may be winds and debris swirling about me but I feel the calm. I feel my own strength that has come shining through the clouds of my own vulnerability and desire to stay to face the storm.
I have learned that I’d rather face the world with tears in my eyes and a catch in my throat than miss life as it passes me by from that hole in the ground.
I’m still planning on stocking up on Kleenex, though—just in case another storm hits. It never hurts to be prepared!
Author: Molly Murphy
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Renée Picard