I truly believe that there is nothing more therapeutic than a good cry.
There is something to be said for finally releasing all those emotions, the hurt, the anger, the anxiety, and just letting them wash over you. This is not exactly a practice that I widely advertise, or one that you will see on social media anytime soon. However, it is one that I am trying to be more open and honest about in the hopes that it will bring a little reality to the pressures we put on ourselves.
Over the years I have realized that I put such an immense amount of pressure on being “perfect” or seemingly having it “all figured out” (a phrase I should seriously remove from my vocabulary). I have touched on this topic of perfection before, but last week really forced me to delve a little deeper.
Life lately has been an absolute whirlwind. From taking on more responsibility at work and several huge projects, to my friend Tara coming to visit me in the Big Apple, it has been busy to say the least. Honestly I haven’t had a moment to breathe. As I sat on my bed watching the clock tick to 1:01am last Wednesday morning, I realized how close I was to running on empty. I knew that sleep is exactly what I needed…and yet I started to jot down thoughts on WordPress in the best way I know how. It was a wonderful couple of days last week but they certainly took a toll. There is nothing like having a close friend come to visit and to just chat about life. My friendship with Tara is one that I value more than words could say, and that weekend reunion was long overdue.
While Tara was here we decided to see the movie Inside Out. I cannot recommend this movie enough, (don’t worry, no spoilers here!), and I think it is a must see, especially for those fellow post grads out there questioning themselves! Watching the main character Riley’s different emotions (aka Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Phyllis Smith, and Lewis Black) was like a mirror reflecting the emotions that Tara and I have both faced lately. Isn’t it strange how the books you are reading or the movies you are watching reflect what is happening in your life?! This movie was no exception. The character Sadness especially, had some of the most poignant lines, and I often could not help but nod my head in agreement.
Whenever I stop to really think for a moment, I am still shocked at where I am in comparison to where I was simply a year ago, so much has changed. However, that doesn’t stop me from questioning where I am and where I hope to be one day. This typically manifests in some sort of stress or anxiety that makes me overthink and tests my patience. All these changes, frustration, anxiety, and pressure have sometimes resulted in an overwhelming mountain of emotions.
Last Tuesday I had a pretty tough day. You may be thinking work related…but nope, it was personal and dealt with problems I have been trying to find a solution to for months. It knocked me down and all I could do was head back to my office, pull myself together, and put on a smile. This is something I have learned to excel at over the years; I am a Scorpio after all. I am a master at acting like everything is okay, you may think you know how I am feeling but chances are you’re wrong. As I was walking home from this very long day I called my mom and told her that I just felt like I needed a good cry. She of course asked, “wait why?” and I couldn’t exactly explain it, but for whatever reason I have found that simply crying can be the best way to feel better. It is the wave of emotion followed by that first deep breath of relief that somehow washes away all those thoughts. It is a practice that I have implemented time and time again over the years, especially when I put a lot of pressure on myself.
I think many of my friends (and myself included) have been putting on the smile and happy exterior, and simply burying these different emotions we’ve faced over the last year. This is probably because we are at the most uncomfortable time in our lives to date. We have so many paths open to us and yet we stay stuck at the crossroads overwhelmed by the possibilities. I have watched many friends, some who I never would have expected to, crumble under the pressure. This is NOT a bad thing, but shows that we need to allow ourselves to express all the different emotions and thoughts we are having instead of burying them. It is this attempt to act like everything is fine, that eventually leads to a buildup that becomes tougher to come back down from. This is a practice that I have watched time and time again because we have to make it seem like things are okay. Instagram especially frustrates me sometimes because it is this endless feed of “reality” that actually took the person 15 minutes to perfectly set up for the casual shot. I am guilty of this too, and am actively trying to be more real.
If there is one thing I have learned in the last few years, it is that it is okay to be scared, happy, sad, overwhelmed, frustrated, anxious, and any other emotion you can think of.
It is okay! I promise you.
I think the problems come in when we force ourselves to act happy when deep down we aren’t even feeling slightly smiley. Life is not easy, and the last year has tested me in ways I never would have imagined. However, that being said, I have surrounded myself with an incredible support system. I am thankful for my family and friends who are always there for me, and I for them. I think we all need to remember that it is okay to not always be happy; the key though, is not letting that sadness or anxiety take over our lives.
So for those who are trying to put on a brave face, it is okay to simply go home and cry for as long as you need. Let it out and you will be amazed at how much better you feel. It is okay not to have the answer and it is okay to feel stuck and confused. This is our time to be asking these questions, because one day we will look back and laugh at the questions, because by then we will know the answers.