I have this thing where I don’t like to cry in front of other people. I never have. Even as a child, I would refrain. The tears were almost always internal, until I had a chance to get away and process things. As such, the majority of my big cry sessions have been done in private, into a pillow or while driving somewhere in my car.
When my parents divorced, I didn’t cry. When my grandfather died in front of my eyes when I was 19, I didn’t cry. When we had to put down the family dog, and later the family cat, I didn’t cry. I couldn’t even be in the same room as my sweet pup or my darling cat while they were taking their final breaths.
Even with my ex-husband, I never cried in front of him to show sadness, unless I was drunk and we were fighting. I didn’t shed a single happy tear at our wedding – I shed no tears at all, even while others were crying with joy.
No, crying just hasn’t been easy for me. Instead of expressing sadness in a normal way, I’d typically be moody, broody, quiet, or critical. I remember crying in front of my ex the most when our relationship was choking on its own death rattles – and even then, I was drunk, or getting drunk, or thinking about getting drunk.
It’s weird, for someone as emotional as I am, crying is pretty much the hardest thing for me to do, at least when I’m around others. Even when I’m alone, I feel weird and out of control and almost weak when I break down. I try to hard to keep my composure that fighting back tears during difficult times is just kind of my modus operandi.
Last night, I started feeling sad during a dinner with my boyfriend & one of his friends. What made me sad, you ask? Oh, you know, they were talking about cats. Yes, cats. I just so happen to love cats, and sadly had to re-home my two beautiful kitties almost a year ago because of some difficult life circumstances. It was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in recent years (besides my divorce), and as soon as I left them at their new home, I tried like crazy to never think about it and block it out because I knew it would make me burst out in tears if I thought about it too much. It’s literally too painful for me to think about without crying. I miss them like crazy and I just want to know that they’re happy and safe. Sometimes I wonder if they’d even remember me, if I ever saw them again.
Anyway, so they were talking about cats. I kept a smile on for the remainder of dinner but felt the tears welling up behind my eyes. I was super sensitive on the ride home, and my boyfriend even commented that I seemed jumpy. We got to his place and he fell asleep on the couch while I half-watched an episode of Lost, feeling all angry and upset with myself for being angry and upset. It wasn’t until later that night, while in bed, that I turned to my boyfriend after trying to stuff the tears down and had to force myself to vocalize my sadness. I literally had to say, “Hey. I felt sad tonight.” Just like that. I realized that was the first time while sober that I had ever just been honest with someone about how I felt, unprompted.
I started crying and even as I cried, I was fighting myself, trying to keep it under control. It wasn’t pretty. He gave me kisses and wiped my cheeks as I cried and told me it was okay to let myself feel the feels. He’s not the most outwardly emotional guy, but he was there for me in the moment when I felt like a sniffly hot mess, crying over something that happened almost a year ago.
Still learning. Still sad. Still sober. Day 69 in progress.