“Never apologize for showing feelings. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.” ~Benjamin Disraeli
Each day, month, or year I want to be something different when I grow up. At some point I want to open up a smoothie truck with a best friend, I want to teach yoga to cancer patients, and I want to travel to Australia and become a bartender just to support myself.
But more so than what I want (or think I want) to be, I know what I am. I am a wife, a sister, a friend, an Egyptian, a listener, a weirdo, a poet, a marketer, a dog mom, and a wannabe yogi.
But most of all? I am emotional.
I am so emotional at times that my husband comes home to an inconsolable wife sitting alone on the couch crying. And what has set me off into this uncontrollable fit, you may ask? Some kid in a commercial misses his dad who is on a business trip, and (thanks to Skype services) he gets his bedtime story from 3,000 miles away. Sad? Yes, I know.
Sad, but common. I have emotional friends. I also have completely apathetic friends. I love them. They are completely real with me when I get out of hand and help bring me back to earth.
Something I just can’t help but get emotional over is death.
It’s funny because I don’t have a problem with my own death. I could talk about that for days—how it’s going to happen, when I think it will happen, anything, until my husband tells me he doesn’t want to hear about it anymore and leaves the room.
My grandparents along with many members of my family live in Egypt. I went to Egypt every other summer since I was born. I looked forward to seeing my cousins, the beaches, my aunts—everyone, but specifically my grandfather. I am my grandfather’s favorite grandchild (his words, not mine).
When I was a little girl, I followed him everywhere and mimicked everything he did. He had his own nickname for me, and anything he said, I believed.
For example, he had four toes on one of his feet and told me it was a shark attack. I believed it and told everyone I knew. Turns out, the real story wasn’t half as cool as that.
Fast forward a decade later to this past September. I married my best friend and had the absolute happiest day of my life. I married into the most gracious, giving family a woman could ask for.
I wanted nothing more than my grandfather to meet my soon-to-be husband and my new family-in-law who embraced me as one of their own. My grandfather died three weeks before my wedding.
He had been sick and weak but this came as a shock to me. I consider myself a pretty strong woman, and yet I shut down. My sweet husband dropped everything to be with me, but for some reason I had the hardest time controlling my emotions.
And there it was again, that something that I know I am—emotional.
I never got to say goodbye, I regret not visiting more, and he would never meet my husband. Those things killed me.
Now, almost a year since he passed, I’m not entirely over that loss; and my grandmother is sick and not doing well, herself.*
It’s a reminder to truly appreciate life. It’s funny how it sometimes takes a death to realize how beautiful life really is and to help you actually start living it.
Of course that doesn't make it any easier to lose people we love, but we have a choice to honor them. Remember the memories you’ve had with them, learn from them, speak them, breathe them, incorporate them in your everyday life, and they are there. Simple, huh?
As I recently cried while sharing my feelings with my father, I thought many things. I’m getting older now; people in my life will pass. My grandparents lived such amazing, full lives and spent some of the best years of my childhood with me.
I am lucky. What’s helped me is choosing to think about my emotions, express them, and then move on from them to think about the positive.
So, what words of wisdom can I give to those who feel overcome with the same sadness and uncontrollable emotions like I do?
Live them, acknowledge them, give them some time to breathe in your life, and then move on from them. Express your sadness, happiness, anxiety, and fears through other outlets.
I write. Words speak volumes, much louder than any emotion in my head. I transfer my emotions on to paper and feel better. For me, this has helped.
Never, ever mistake emotions for weakness. Take it one day at a time and whether it’s through writing, singing, dancing, laughing, knitting, journaling, reading, practicing yoga, or otherwise, find a way to send your emotions out into the world as positive energy.
Who knows, there might be someone standing nearby hearing you laugh, sitting at home reading your article, or lying next door, desperately trying to turn their mind off as you lull them to sleep with your singing.
Those people could really use that positive energy. We all could.
*Note: I wrote this piece on March 5th and on March 9th, my grandmother passed away. She is the reason why I am submitting this today. In a little way, I think she pushed me to write this in the first place knowing I would need that emotional release yet again. And today, I feel released and relieved. May she rest in peace and find comfort in the stillness.
Photo by h. koppdelaney