I’m a very sentimental and emotional person.
On the inside.
I don’t like crying in front of people because it’s difficult for me to see it as anything other than me being vulnerable and weak. But even though I hate crying, I can’t hide the fact that I feel a lot. Maybe even too much.
When I was younger, I used to get made fun of for being in the bathroom for too long. “What do you do in the bathroom?” “Why are you always in the bathroom?” Well, here’s why: No one can see you cry when you’re in the bathroom. That was where I’d cry because my bedroom door didn’t have a lock and later on I had to share a room with my siblings. The bathroom was sort of a safe haven, and I didn’t care that others thought I was weird for being in the bathroom often because I’d rather have them think that I had a stomach bug than know that I was crying.
In nearly 7 years of being together, Hussam has only seen me cry 5 times. To emphasize the magnitude of how much I don’t like crying, you have to know that he’s the person I’m most comfortable around. I don’t know where this issue of mine stems from but, I assume it’s from my difficulty trusting people.
The last time I was teary eyed was earlier today and the last time I cried was a few days ago at the veterinary clinic. Palestina was on the steel examination table, with a tube in her arm that gave her necessary fluids. I had to keep her arm extended so that the IV drip would work. Easy enough right? Except that she looked unbelievably sad. It was hard to look at her and I didn’t want to feel sad in case she sensed how I felt, because then she’d feel even worse. So I sang to her and spoke to her a bit, but that just made the lump in my throat grow to the size of Godzilla’s head so I just petted her. Eventually I couldn’t hold it in any longer and my eyes became an overflowing dam. I asked Hussam to stay with her while I sat on the other end of the room, stealing tissue paper from the cabinet because I didn’t think to bring tissues of my own. Who comes prepared for something unexpected like that?
The strange thing about all this is that most people think I don’t feel anything. There have been times during family ‘discussions’ where I won’t say anything and everyone would assume that I don’t care or that it doesn’t affect me. Of course I care and of course it affects me, I’m a human being, not a machine.
I know that crying isn’t weakness. I know that. But I’ve always felt as though I have to fend for myself, that I’d rather be thought of as cold and stoic than emotional and sensitive because who knows what others will do when they know what I’m really like?
My therapist used to tell me that these defensive mechanisms worked for me when I was a child, that it was my way of protecting myself. But I’m not a child anymore. I’m going to be 22 years old this year, so this is definitely something I have to work on.
Maybe the next time I cry, which will probably be tomorrow, I won’t sneak away to cry by myself. Seeing as how I don’t only cry when I’m sad, but also when I’m happy, maybe the first step is to just let my guard down and not care if others see it as weakness.
Or maybe the first step is clicking ‘Publish’ on this post.