For many years, I refused to let myself cry. I mean really cry. A downpour of a cry. I wasn’t able to fully release all of my heartbreak, stress, anger, disappointment or whatever other emotion was hanging over my head. Correction, I was able – everyone is. I just didn’t allow it.
On many levels, I grew up too fast. Many situations in life led me to a state of maturity that was beyond my control. I had to be independent, strong, and able to keep moving forward. And although I don’t regret any of where life has taken me, I sometimes wonder how or if things would be different otherwise.
I was 21 years young when my younger brother passed away at 19 years of age. He was diagnosed with and deceased of a rare bone cancer all within a short 6 months. This is when I really put my own emotions on hold. For years.
After my brother’s passing, my mother was understandably, a disaster. She entered a deep, dark phase of mental and physical depression. Her chronic addiction to alcohol was accelerated to the max, resulting in job loss and beyond. I continued on as best as I could. I tried to live my life in normalcy and I woke up every morning putting one foot in front of the other. At the time, I thought I had taken on the role of self-sacrifice to be strong for my heartbroken mother. However, when I look back, I also see that I perhaps may have used her period of grief as an excuse to avoid my own.
From that point on, I would swallow whatever yelp of heartbreak that tried to escape from me. I had shoved so many uncomfortable feelings deep down within me and I was determined to keep it all there. If I felt these bottled up emotions making their way up into my chest, I would suppress them. I would do anything to prevent them from reaching the outside world. I would workout. I would make plans. I would not allow myself to be alone or give myself time to process and heal. I would distract myself. If I did happen to surrender to a therapeutic cry, it was only when I was alone and it would only be once or twice a year. I wouldn’t dare show any weakness in front of others. Yes, that is how I saw anything other than happiness…I saw it only as a weakness.
Naturally, my lack of dealing with emotions started to affect me in other areas of my life. I realized that I couldn’t have a serious, meaningful conversation about any of my personal hardships. I would always somehow turn everything into a joke. I would find a way to make light of any situation for my own comfort. My friends, family, and significant others would always get frustrated with me (and still do as I haven’t fully overcome this reaction).
I also, would always cry after having sexual intercourse. The build-up and release after an orgasm was something I couldn’t control no matter how hard I tried. I always felt so incredibly emotional after that release. The tears were always an instant reaction. And the thing last a man wants to see after such intimacy, is his partner crying her face off. It was definitely awkward as hell trying to explain. But I will admit, those cries were (and sometimes still are) the best cries. They are unstoppable and come after a hurricane built up of mental and physical tension. It was almost as if I saw it as an excusable way for me let go, emotionally.
When I started blogging, I started sharing my feelings. I had journaled a lot when I was younger but I had lost my way with writing over the years. Blogging opened up a new door for me. I was really starting to come together as a healthy individual and through sharing my recipes, I started sharing my emotions. It was so therapeutic. I didn’t care if a single person read what I wrote because by just typing the words out, I was setting myself free.
And now, blogging continues to be one of my main outlets for sorting my emotions. I now can look back and recognize that I was terrified to face my own reflection in the mirror. I am far from perfect. I still sometimes default to making light of a serious conversation. I still occasionally emotionally explode after sex. But I’m also crying when I need to. I’m allowing myself to feel all the feels and I understand the importance of doing so. I suffered years of battling the fears of tears but I’m here now. I finally realize that crying isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a sign of strength. Recognizing painful emotions and accepting them is so much harder than it seems. When we accept these feelings and allow them to pass through us naturally, we learn and we heal. It may have taken me a decade to reach this understanding and this point of peace within myself but its better late than never. To feel freely is to live freely.
CHANTAL URBINA is a registered Massage Therapist and Culinary Nutrition Expert. She is passionate about living a life full of health, love, and happiness and that all three start with our diet. “Nature’s healing properties will never cease to amaze me and it inspires me day after day to create and share recipes made with only real whole foods.”