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I woke up feeling hot—so hot.
It’s that sticky, humid, Midwest kind of heat that I am not used to anymore. Visiting my best friend here reminds me of lost secrets from a lifetime ago.
My eyes hurt as I rubbed them, and I instantly remembered that I had cried myself to sleep last night.
I cried for so long and so hard that I hid under the covers; I didn’t want to wake anyone.
Was that really me?
In my head, I could hear my grandfather asking me, “Have you had enough?” Crying wasn’t acceptable to him, no matter what the cause, and I didn’t want him to give me something to cry about.
Movies are my safe place. If I’m not allowed to cry for myself, for my pain, or for my feelings, I can at least cry for a character in a movie. (I don’t remember the last time I let that happened either.)
When I was younger, if my brother and I got into an argument and I got hurt, my grandfather would laugh at me and joke that I should say I’m sorry.
Now, being vulnerable, even to myself, is something that I just cannot do—even alone.
It’s my conditioning.
But now that I’m back here, in this place of my past, I realize how beautiful, tragic, and solemn this state truly is. The place where you are so sad and so hopeless that nobody can help you.
Then, there’s this other world; it’s one where the sadness opens you up to be vulnerable, empathetic, and understanding.
In this world, I feel lighter—each tear that falls weighs several pounds.
I am so small now. I mean, I cried all night, who knows how many mental pounds I lost?
My worries were so heavy and so real, but they were so lost inside my body that I couldn’t even feel them anymore.
I cried for what I lost; I cried for what I never had; I cried for the expectations that I grew from seeds that would never get the sun they required; I cried for the unknown future and the harrowing past.
And now, my heart beats in my chest again! It is as free as an abused woman on her divorce day—not quite ready to rejoice, but free enough to feel different. I no longer notice it as loud and racing, but simply beating.
I feel my body again, but I feel so small, like a little ant.
What happened to me?
I try to find my tears, and simultaneously, I’m getting lost in the covers with my little ant body. I can’t seem to find them. (They have all dried on the pillows.)
But my pain, my feelings, and my body—I am so small now I couldn’t carry them anyway.