Last week I was emotionally strung out. Very. Strung. Out.
I had a very sick pet which gave me a sense of dread that I couldn’t shake.
Death was in the air. I’ve had that experience too often. Way too often.
There was a choking heaviness in my heart. It was painful.
I used to cry to release the tension but as I get older I find that crying isn’t as easy.
Physical exercise and deep breathing only go so far. A good cry goes farther. A cry with the big heaving sobs where you can’t catch your breath. Your whole face swells but you feel so good afterward. Released and renewed.
Over the years my skin has gotten thick (figuratively). Some experiences are not personal but they still hurt. When you get enough of those combined with the purely personal hurts, you build a protection.
That’s good for survival but it comes at a price. You have to let it out.
I could blame it on my ethnicity. My grandparents came from Germany. You know. Stoic. Strong. Not emotional. No crying.
In my family a shoulder pat is considered bordering on indecent assault. There is no kissy-kissy.
In contrast my ex was of Irish extract. Damn family kissed relatives on the lips (ON THE LIPS) all the time. I would do all sorts of things to avoid it. Running to the car fast so I could wave out the window. Claiming I had a terrible herpes outbreak or maybe it’s leprosy (better safe than sorry). Turning the cheek at the last moment. That was the best game of dodge I ever played. Maybe whack-a-mole.
It wasn’t that I didn’t like them. It was uncomfortable and sometimes (most times!) unsanitary. Throw some garlic in with a big cigar. Yikes.
My family didn’t do that. We are content with a fist bump. We know we care about each other and don’t need to exchange saliva to seal the deal. (We are also big onion and cabbage eaters. It isn’t inviting.)
We hug. After a round of cancer in the family I make sure I hug my relatives every time I see them. You never which time will be the last. It sneaks up on you. Just yesterday I was in high school. It’s a respectful hug. No free feels or anything like that. Just sincere affection.
Last week it took two days to work out the heaviness (and some extra mocha lattes, deep breathing exercises and a strange form of yoga that my cats taught me). Next time I should try chopping onions.