Oh, is that your cry? I hope you don’t mind that I borrowed it.
Gosh am I weepy lately. I have read a book and watched two movies in the past 3 days that made me cry.
I am not sad. I am not unhappy. I am just emotional.
It’s funny to be able to pinpoint this idea. That I am having emotions that make me feel a kind of pain. A pain that makes me cry. (And I’m not talking about pretty, sparkly teardrops delicately skittering down my cheeks. I mean streaming, snotty, puffy, phlegmy sobbing.) But also knowing that this pain does not mean anything about me. It is not the result of something being wrong. It does not have to be about an event, or a personal experience. It is simply about being alive. Being human. Living in a body in the world with other humans.
And it feels good. Letting it go is kind of gross at the time. Not particularly comfortable or pleasant. But freeing. Relaxing. Cathartic. Holding it in hurts.
But I’m an addict. And pain used to be something different to me.
First of all, I was terrified of it. I have mentioned before that I have a sensitive heart. I feel things very deeply. And when I was a little girl, those feelings were overwhelming. I can remember being 4 or 5, lying in bed and saying to God that if life didn’t get easier, I didn’t think I was going to be able to do it. I certainly didn’t know what the alternative was. I just knew that being alive hurt too much to bear sometimes. I don’t remember what had happened. It doesn’t matter, really. Or maybe it does in the sense that whatever happened, it was not monumental. But my pain was.
Since I have gotten control of my eating, I have often wondered if it is that extreme sensitivity that made me an addict. Because food allowed me to control that pain. Not entirely. And not forever. And the truth is that it always made it worse, ultimately. But I could cease to feel for a little while. I could suspend the ache.
But there was something else about being an addict. I did not trust myself. I could not look at myself. If I had looked at myself, I would have had to have done something about the way that I was abusing myself. So I had to accept things blindly. I had to believe my feelings. If I was weepy, I must be sad. If I felt pain, it must be mine. If I was uncomfortable there must be something wrong. If a book or a movie made me cry, I let it stir up my own personal pain. Wounds that I had not let go of. It would not have even occurred to me that I was feeling something separate from myself. After all, I could feel it so acutely. It must be real.
There are so many blessings to getting my eating under control. But one of them is feeling without drama. It is so nice to feel something and know that I feel it because I am a human being living in a body. And that’s all. That it does not have some deeper meaning. That it does not mean anything about me personally. There is something wonderful about a good cry. Especially when it’s not really mine. When it belongs to the world. And I just get to borrow it.