Until today, I had not cried in a really long time. Oh the occasional tear up at a sad story on TV, but an honest, ugly, BIG cry? Nope. Months. Actual months. Mind you, these were months in which I was adjusting to single parenting, dating, custody arrangements and waiting for the date (now very much impending) when we close this chapter.
Earlier today, I was on my way back from Vegas and I found myself staring at a middle-aged man casually twirling the wedding ring on his left ring finger. And suddenly with no warning, there were two hot, fat tears rolling down my cheeks.
I kept it together through that next flight. But the image, and those 2 tears, haunted me all the way home to Charleston. What was this about? Where had that come from?
That man just looked so comfortable fiddling with his ring. It was clearly something he does absent-mindedly and all the time. It might be his tell. It might be his security blanket. That ring was very much a part of who he was and it did something to me. I felt something shift.
It confirmed a suspicion I’ve had of late: there’s a crack in the armor. I didn’t realize I’d been waiting for this; holding my breath. Wanting this. To feel again. Hallelujah, I felt a true feel.
See, I think I’ve been peddling all of you a load of bullshit. I think I’ve been so loudly going on and on about being a TRUTH TELLER and MY OPEN HEART, when really, my little heart was sitting in a numb, grey, rock-hard cave. She was at the bottom of a well and unmovable.
I am not talking depression or sadness. It was no-feeling. And it was so no-feeling that I didn’t REALIZE there were no true feelings. And only in its complete juxtaposition– the feeling of ALL THE FEELINGS today, did I realize that wow, we’ve been very much walled in behind a safe moat of absolute numbness.
It’s ironic and amazing this paradox we live with as humans. You can’t understand “really truly happy” without also understanding “really truly sad.” You can’t actually allow another human into your jagged, jacked up heart unless you allow yourself the full range of feels.
As it turns out, I felt no feels for many, many months and this hit me like a ton of fucking bricks this afternoon. I felt something move. I felt sad. I felt angry. But I also felt the stirring of hope in the form of butterflies when my little phone dinged with text after text from the man-friend. We were flying across the country in opposite directions today, which requires a play by play when things are this new and you just cannot NOT.
You cannot feel one without the other.
Tracing it back, the hard-shelled heart started to crack a few months ago with writing. With singing. With starting to peel away layers of busy. With saying no to all of the commitments I hid behind that were bolstering the fortress around my heart. It’s easy to not feel when you just don’t actually have time.
So here I am, with nothing BUT time. Here I am with the luxury of an ugly cry, alternating between crying and laughing because I am just so happy to be feeling again. It sounds so crazy but I was all “LEAN IN girl” and got more tissues. I am pretty sure that’s not what Sheryl Sandberg meant by that phrase, but I am also pretty sure she’d be ok with my stretch in this direction. (We met once, we’re almost best friends.)
So here I am, just all open and feelings-y. And this time, I mean it.
Tonight, I am grateful. Happy to be home surrounded by snoring boys and pets. Missing a man-friend who’s 3000 miles away, but so happy to know my little heart is creeping out into the sunlight once again.
Come on out girl, we’ve got you.
Ps- Can I just tell you that being a writer-type is also really annoying sometimes? I was fully laying down in bed, ready to sleep after getting up at 4 am in Vegas and coming all the way home to Mom the Day; and I lay down and this freaking thing just starts composing itself in my head. And I am like, I should probably write this on a napkin or find my journal for an outline or like for SURE I will remember it… and then all of a sudden, I am just all FINE I AM UP AND TYPING. #writelife you are no joke.