Sometimes I underestimate the power of a really good cry. I am fully aware of the healthy alternatives to bottling up my emotions and letting them all spew out at once unexpectedly. Exercise is probably best. Meditation would be next on my list.
But bottled emotion is like convenience food for my mental health sometimes. It’s easy. It helps me move on with life. However, eventually, my mind has to get rid of the waste and the thought patterns that no longer serve me. Bawling my eyes out is sometimes the way to go. It feels good after it’s all said and done. Kind of.
It’s obviously unnerving when a crying fest gets rolling and reaches the point of no return. The other night, my speaking ability reached the ultimate level of talk-yell-crying. It’s a way of communicating that involves trying to FORCE the words out while desperately trying catch breath. Why even bother trying to verbalize anything? Probably because it has to just come out somehow.
Everything that was bothering me just worked its way out in big spurts of jumbled phrases. Sadness and anger fueled the tears. The feeling of insecurity and disappointment in myself and my twisted view of thinking that I’m not good enough kept the waterworks running. Anxiety was definitely in the mix. Exhaustion? You bet. I accessed emotions that I had conveniently tucked away weeks before. My husband was there to listen, and try to make sense of it all. I don’t know what I would do without him.
There has been SO MUCH INPUT in my life lately. Visual, auditory, digital, sentimental, emergency, you name it. Processing it and taking action has been a challenge. Over the course of the last 5 days, I have become so much more appreciative of others’ experiences, struggles, and perspectives. Everyone who is involved in my life has something so meaningful and genuine to share with me. I’m thankful for it all.
And sometimes, I just need time to cry about it.
The next morning, I pulled it together, threw my hair in a bun and chose to wear glasses and a T-shirt to work. Thank goodness it was College Wear Wednesday. I also skipped a shower. I took all necessary steps to remedy and treat the eye and face puffiness.
I received compliments about my appearance throughout the day. Mr. Custodian noticed how lovely my hair looks when it’s up. A parent in my room said I look adorable, and I informed her it was my “no time” look. She said she wished she could pull it off. My students questioned my glasses, but they liked them (supposedly).
The words gave me the boost I needed. I was noticed. I was acknowledged. I felt loved. However, I am all of the above, all of the time. My husband and my own children are the first to let me know at the start of every day. Sometimes I carelessly overlook it when I’m stressed.
There are so many people out there who have not found their support system yet. This week I learned that everyone is allowed to be in tune with their mental state, and seek out connection with others. It takes a lot of courage to be on the listening end. It takes a lot to be the one who offers the space to connect with someone who is vulnerable or sad. This message just so happened to be promoted to the students at my school all week. It impacted me as well. Reach out. Connect. Be brave.
Check out the link to Start With Hello Week and the Sandy Hook Promise. I was inspired and my perspective was regained. Coincidentally, it was the best kind of reset and recharge that I needed.
Lake Tahoe is my favorite place to go when I need a little break from the Bay Area landscape. Sometimes I just need a bit more of a majestic mountain summit and a beautiful blue lake in my direct view for a mental reset. This is a First World problem, I know. I grew up skiing and snowboarding in Tahoe during the winter, and in the summer, lake time is still my favorite. I just recently discovered the enjoyment and relaxation element of stand up paddleboarding, or SUPing as the cool outdoorsy people would say.
However, due to my brain being on overload lately, and summer coming to a close, my subconscious mind decided to give me the gift of a dreamy blue nightmare. The setting? Just a short 3 mile drive up north to my most happy place.
The SUP rental was paid for and ready to go. In a matter of minutes, Lake Tahoe turned into a treacherous, swelling ocean with 100 foot tsunami-grade waves reaching up over everyone. What I was most concerned about wasn’t saving my own life or helping those around me. My daughter was tucked away and safe with someone else. My son was a stuffed animal. I think he was a Tsum Tsum, swaddled and sleeping. My husband? Accounted for, I think.
The waves reached up. Way up. My only concern was being totally bummed out about wasting money on the board rental. I continued watching the Mavericks-style waves, in horror and amazement. Someone, (maybe it was my dad?) suggested that I wear a life vest when I finally decide to go out there on the SUP. Good advice. I never went out on the board though. My hard earned make-believe money was wasted.
I don’t recall much more, but when I woke up, I instantly identified the scene as a stress induced dream. It was kind of cool to watch those waves though.
So what did I learn?
The mind works in ridiculous ways, especially when you’re stressed. It can take you for a ride. It’s beautiful. It’s strange. It’s weird. When you stand up against the 100 foot wave, and you’re not sure what to do, you learn that you are human. You are small in comparison to the rest of the world.
The nerves will bubble up on Monday on my 14th first day of school. I will visualize my stomach as a creamy coated, animated Pepto-Bismol pink after the first bell rings. But I will know that it’s all okay. I will stop, drop, and embrace. Breathing will help too.
I will not wear pink on the first day of school. I will wear blue in honor of my favorite (calm) lake.