This year I got something for my birthday that I didn't expect or know I needed. I got the gift of a good cry. For the weeks leading up to my birthday, I had been looking forward to writing in my journal on my big day. There is a special page allocated just for your birthday entry with plenty of space to list long term goals, dreams and aspirations. I had imagined all the positive and productive things I would include in my birthday journal entry for this year.
However, despite these plans, I woke up on the morning of my birthday feeling heavy and blue. The sadness, frustration and disappointment of 2020 had finally caught up with me. No matter how hard I tried to shake off this melancholy, I couldn't. So I allowed myself to quit fighting it and just let the tears flow. And they did. They flowed and flowed and flowed.
A good, long, ugly cry is a gift. It's a release and a reset. I had so much emotional baggage I didn't realize I was holding onto. What my ugly cry gave me was a chance to fully sit in the darkness and feel all the feels. The disappointments, the frustrations, the loneliness, the pain and yes, even the anger. The rawness I felt allowed me to breath deeper and gain perspective. The veil that I had worked so hard to keep in place during the last nine months had been lifted.
I am the optimist in my family and the one who holds everyone and everything together. I am the one who everyone calls on for anything and everything. So in releasing my tears I was admitting how much I was grieving and how overwhelmed I felt. And that I desperately needed a little extra love and support.
You know how after a big summer rainstorm it is so beautiful, crisp and clear?! Everything seems to sparkle a little brighter and there is a peacefulness and a calmness in the air. That is how I felt after my big, ugly cry. There is a raw and authentic beauty in our tears.
And I am ok. I am happier, more patient and a lot more realistic. So for my birthday journal entry this year, I didn't write about long term plans and brilliant new ideas. I wrote a short and simple entry that said "It's going to be okay." That's it. No lofty aspirations or motivational musings. It was just one sentence with a few very normal, very average words. The heart of my art is in this clarity and relies on kindness, hope and love for myself as well as towards others.
I can't imagine what many of you have experienced in 2020. This year has blown through us all. But I will ask you this...please have yourself an ugly cry or two if you haven't had one in awhile. The restorative and calming qualities of a long cry will allow you to unburden your mind and your soul a little bit. Also, please, please check on your friends and family, especially the ones who tend to hold everyone together. I can assure you that at some point they will crack. Encourage them to take some time and hold space for their pain and sadness. It isn't a pity party, but a natural and necessary part of our mental wellness.
Be kind to yourself and encourage your friends and a family to do the same. Letting someone know you care means more than you know. Things will be okay, maybe not right now, but soon, very soon they will be. These are extremely difficult and trying times and we need all the gifts we can get, even if it's the gift of an ugly cry.