Having Emotions

I’m a person with a lot of emotions.

Actually…scratch that.

I’m just a person.

I have emotions – because I’m a person. Not a robot.

Everyone emotes differently, but that’s what we’re doing. Emoting. You may call your mom when you’re stressed. Your sister may go to the gym. You may cry. This is how it works in life, but there’s really no wrong or right way to do it – as long as you’re always kind and respectful, you know?

But back up.

How did we get here?

So – I’ve been feeling lame lately. Like I’m a sack of emotions and my eyes are always two seconds away from filling to the brim with tears. I’m a crier. I feel better when I cry. I definitely cry weekly. I’m not sure I’ve ever really kept track. It’s not always a meltdown or anything. Just a frustrated tear, a happy glisten at my eyes, or a hysterical, tears streaming down the cheeks and ribs aching after a funny joke or situation.

When I was little, I would begin every school year with a resolution to myself:

“Don’t cry in class this year.”

I’d make it a month, maybe more. And then something would happen. A bad grade on a math test. Getting disqualified from the school spelling bee. Missing my mom. An argument with a friend. And I’d feel that lump burn the back of my throat and I knew the feeling would go away if I just let the water out of my eyes for a second. So I would. And feel relief. And then shame.

My first instinct would always be to look around at everyone else. Peer into the classroom from the fisted hands that covered my swollen eyes and feel the shame. That “no one else is crying”. The “I look like a baby”. And then, finally “no one is going to want to be friends with me”.

As a kid, I forgave myself for these incidents. I’d go to the bathroom, wash my face, and get through the rest of the school year hoping no one made a joke or told the story of how I literally cried over spilled milk. I figured – one day I’ll be old and an adult and I just will stop crying.

Because that’s what adults do right?

9 year old me didn’t know what we happen in my early twenties. Basically, lots of cause for some justified waterworks.

What I’m feeling now is – overwhelmed.

7 months ago, I had no plan for life. I was sick and all consumed by my illness that I wasn’t just taking things day by day – more like hour by hour. And the funny thing when you’re sick like that is, no one really can see that from the outside. I looked unhealthy, but could people tell I was seconds (or pounds) away from hospitalization? Did my professors know it was group project or inpatient? No. I just kept pushing, but had little hope about where things would go. I was trying to get better, but didn’t really know how or if I could.

One day, my boss had a review for me at work and asked me what my post-grad plans were. (Essentially, she was asking me if I’d like a job full time. Which the answer was HELL YES, but I was still iffy on whether or not I could keep my head above water in recovery.)

I cried. Finally. Broke my good streak at work.

I told her everything. How I was so sick in my eating disorder and I was only a few weeks into recovery. How I saw three-four doctors a week and was really trying to get well, so that I could graduate and begin a career. How it was so, so hard. And that’s why I hadn’t really checked in with her about my post-grad plans and about whether I was interested in moving from an intern to a full time employee. I didn’t know if I’d make it to graduation. I didn’t know if I could do life as a real adult.

Spoiler alert is – I did get better. I did take the job and I did get far enough along in recovery to maintain a healthy weight and eat regularly/follow my meal-plan, etc. But it all happened so fast. One minute I was at rock bottom and the next I had flung myself into “go-mode” and was trying to be this real, functioning human who had some pretty heavy stuff happening.

Like today. I went to work an hour early, work work worked, did all the things, and then left early for therapy. Because – hello!! ED recovery. Still a thing! I’m a PR Manager by day and Recovery warrior by night as lame as that sounds lol. And not only am I brand new to a job and post-grad life….I’m kinda new to…life.

I wasn’t trying to actively deteriorate my quality of life in my illness, no. But I was in that deep sickness where you just can’t even look forward to the days. You’re just swimming in murky water hoping you don’t hit something and can stay afloat.

So sometimes, I’m sitting at my desk, working through my to-do list and it hits me. I’m living. Like really living. Like get-up, do things, go to work, do work, do good work, go home and do it again living. And then in between living I’m doing these really intentional things called Healing and Recovery and Learning To Be Intuitive and Learning to Love Myself and it’s like – whoa! Two full time jobs!

So I’m grateful. And catching my breath.

And feeling emotional about it all. That “whoa how did I get here” grateful yet overwhelmed tingle behind the eyes. That happens.

And letting it out….I definitely felt better after this. Letting it out. Being open and vulnerable.

I mean, the anecdotes I’ve told here are not the only times I’ve cried in front of people 😉

It’s easy to be vulnerable in front of Cam or my family or one of my doctors. They know me. They know I’m not weak, bad, wrong, silly, or less than if I show my emotions. I actually have a Doctor – a real tough guy – who literally MAKES me cry when I’m in his office. He’s this football-coach lookin’ white haired dude who could definitely be Santa Claus at your local mall, and when I have a session with him, he always tries to get me to let out anything I’m holding in.

I’m often trying to ignore the lump in my throat and the watering in my eyes as I talk to him about recovery is going, but if he senses any emotion I’m holding in, he’ll call me on it.

“I sense that you’re getting emotional. Do you want to talk about that?”

And then boom. Someone’s opened the floodgates.

It’s always better that I’m honest and vulnerable. I’ve gotten through a lot of tough road bumps in recovery because that white haired Santa Doctor pulled it right out of me. And it’s always better for me that way because that’s how I emote. Otherwise, things are just bottled up.

So crying, in a sense, has saved me – not shamed me.

I’ve had to be vulnerable, ask for help, be sad, tell people I am sad so many times in the past few months and it’s always been so life giving and brings me a lot of clarity.

So to my cry babies out there – let’s just call it was it is. Having emotions. Like the human you are.

I hope you feel better today.