Tonight I cried.
It was a hard cry. I had trouble breathing, and scrambled to grab a hand-full of tissues.
It was the kind of cry where you just don’t think the tears will ever stop.
But I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t hurt.
I was laughing.
I was laughing so hard that my joy had no where else to go, so it ran out of my eyes and into the world.
It was 11 p.m. and I was curled up on the corner of my couch, a cup of tea on the table in front of me and my dogs fast asleep on the carpet. I was reading a book—something I sadly don’t take enough time for on an average night. But here I was, deep into Carry On, Warrior, as Glennon Doyle Melton explained in great and hysterical detail about that one night she submitted a Mommy Resignation letter to her three children.
Now, I’m not a mom. And I am responsible for approximately zero children, yet I could feel an uncontrollable laugh building in me. It started small, a giggle, mostly to myself. Then the first sound escaped my lips, waking the dogs. Before I knew it I was sobbing, soul-deep in laughter.
And it felt crazy good. It felt like soul therapy.
There are so many emotions in life. Emotions that we give empty labels to—happy, sad, angry. Emotions that we don’t always give ourselves time or permission to feel—lonely, vulnerable, anxious. Emotions that are too big, too full, too human to truly explain—love, hate, acceptance.
But laughing so hard that I cry? That is the emotion that makes me feel most alive. The emotion that brings me completely into my body. The emotion that is the closest to pure physical joy.
And what’s best about laughing-while-crying-while-laughing is that it’s rare.
I think about my days—days that are full of work and responsibility and passion and play—and I can almost pinpoint what emotions I’ll encounter.
Exhaustion or determination when I wake, depending on how well I slept and what my schedule looks like.
Peace when I wander downstairs and crawl on the floor to cuddle my dog.
Satisfaction when I eat…literally anything.
Freedom when I’m driving down the highway scream-singing to a cheesy 80s pop song.
Empathy when texting with a friend whose life is harder than she deserves.
Relief when I’m finally home after a long day of people and questions and thoughts and I can put on my white fuzzy socks and slip underneath the covers.
We get used to our days, used to what and who we know we will see and encounter and feel.
But there is still magic left in each day.
There are still moments when an unexpected connection with a person or a story comes along and we get to experience what I think is the most magical of feelings: that moment when one emotion isn’t enough, when every pore in our body starts to bubble up with stuff, when we just “get it” and the only way we can handle the connection, the truth, the absurdity, the joy is to laugh and cry and cry and laugh.
When we can let out all the emotions that are too empty or too full and make room to let in more of everything.
When we sit still long enough to let life in.
Author: Nicole Cameron
Image: Angelina Litvin/Unsplash