Big, ugly tears run down my cheeks. The images of sad things fill my mind, and I can’t stop crying.
An article from Inc. Magazine talks about our need to do “emotional hygiene.” To take some time to be by yourself and be sad. Or angry. Or whatever you need to feel that you’ve been pushing away. The idea is to go towards the emotion, rather than avoid it, so that you can lessen the feeling and make it part of the background, like music in an elevator.
I’m reading two books concurrently about Calamity Jane, American frontierswoman and professional scout. She was a misfit at a time when women were held to rigid standards. She wore men’s clothes. She swore. She drank.
Very little can be proven about Calamity Jane’s life. She spread exaggerated stories about herself. (Even her date of birth is disputed.) We do know that she became an orphan when she was still a young girl, and she took care of five younger brothers and sisters. It was a time when there was no social safety net. To borrow a phrase from Tennessee Williams, she “depended on the kindness of strangers.”
She was a dance hall girl, occasional prostitute, and battered wife. She died at age 53 of inflammation of the bowels, but it was likely chronic alcoholism. She had seen an incredible amount of sorrow in her life, and maybe drinking helped ease her painful emotions.
Luckily we have made scientific advancements in dealing with emotion. I felt better after crying.