I’ve done a lot of crying in a lot of different places over the last couple of days– weeks– months– year. I’m sick of it, and yet I know it’s not done, not by a long shot, and as embarrassed as I am by the process of it, I’ve long since let go of trying to hold back on the actual crying because the longer I hold things in, the worse it’s going to be when I let it go. There’s lots of reasons at any particular moment that I might cry– some song that played at my wedding, the tagline to a joke that used to be “ours,” just too much time spent in my head, some asshole cutting me off when I’ve just had a really long day. You know, the usual myriad suspects, the regrets for what has been lost even as I know there’s nothing to salvage, that and just general exhaustion.
A lot of the crying has been done in my car, precisely because it’s private and the half-hour/forty minutes of driving lets me put on some songs that are cathartic and force me to cry when I’m feeling too numb to do anything but make myself react to whatever song I think I need to drive out some emotion so I don’t freak out the rest of the day. (And yet, I know that I need it, and that if I’m unable to do it spontaneously, at least I can cry somehow, which is at least saying something. If I have to let Death Cab or R.E.M. or Ingrid Michaelson or the emo music du jour do the talking for me, well, they do say it well.) And if someone in the next lane looks over at me and sees me weeping– hell, sobbing outright at times– as I drive, well, it’s one of the lesser peculiar things one can see while one drives, and who hasn’t seen that chick in that movie before, even as I am sick of playing this role? Sometimes that quiet time alone in the car as it moves or at the end of the workday is the only quiet time that I have, alone with my thoughts before the next whatever thing I have to move on to– errands, doctor’s appointments, marriage counseling, hah– and those four small walls feel like my only real home, that and the big red tote bag of CDs. (I really ought to get an iPod one of these days, but what can I say? Other things take priority, like a new apartment.)
The crying in the bedroom alone– that is worse. Bedrooms are meant to be shared physically and emotionally, and mine just hasn’t been in the matters that count– no matter how we’ve disagreed about issues of presence, desire, goals, consolation, empathy, all of that jive. Yet again, we’ve all seen that movie before. But it still shreds my heart to have to be in that movie, whether or not I’m that horrid cliche, that wife who feels abandoned by that “I’ve just gotten older, I don’t want those things any more” but still-loving, still doesn’t get it husband. Still-loving, but not in the ways that matter, not in the ways that make him more than a friend and a roommate, ways that make him an intimate, a husband, a lifelong companion.
I cry very occasionally in the cash room at work, where there’s a door that closes– I sit on the step stool and give myself five minutes or so, then go back to work. If any of the six plus other people with the alarm key come in while I’m in the middle, well, there are worse things, and they all know most of the story.
My temper is short, something I don’t like, and it makes me tempermental with co-workers and friends– I walk away a lot more from things, bite my tongue more, go off by myself because I am so full of rage and mixed-up anguish and suicidal depression that I refuse to do something about besides take another damned anxiety pill after I’ve already been bitchy or snappish, and I’m tired of overmedicating myself and of people cutting me slack because I’m having a hard time. I want to be done having a hard time, and just get on with the part where I have less of a hard time. I would even settle for boring.
I really cried once during this past weekend spent with dear friends, heaving into the bathtub– hiccuping drunk sobs and whimpers in between expulsions of too much whiskey, a drink I’ll drink again in the future. It was just enough on that particular night, when it all catches up right away and I go from not drunk enough to I-need-the-bathroom-right-now, the truly pathetic tears that I’ll only let myself do once because I had those particular, wonderful friends available who let me abuse their goodwill and friendship, and because that kind of crying is also a kind of catharsis, as twisted and sick as it seems. The death of this marriage has been a slow poison, an inner wail of “why doesn’t he love me enough to try,” coupled with “why am I/is my bipolar so scary that he doesn’t want to?” I have been convinced that no matter how much I tried and how many times I explained, there was more I could do, some other way I could say it, some more more more more I should be doing when the whole time, the more rational angel on my opposite shoulder was reminding me of the Webster’s book of cliches: two to tango, horses to water, seeing change versus wanting it, all of that stuff. But I needed to literally expel all those poisonous thoughts and while drinking in order to make that happen isn’t something that I make a regular habit, sometimes alcohol really is the cure for what ails you.
I cry in public places and on the train all the time. I don’t particularly feel the need for people to ask me if I’m okay, though if they ask me I’ll thank them. But sometimes I just need to cry at that moment, and there’s no better, more private place. I am less concerned with issues of public decorum that I used to be, I guess, and in any event, I don’t see whom I’m hurting so long as I’m not heaving big snotty sobs and seizing some poor stranger’s jacket and wailing into their jacket. If I come supplied with my own Kleenex and keep to myself as I proceed to cry my heart out– I’m where I need to be, and I’m letting it out. If I need help, I’ll ask you. And in the meantime– thank you for letting me cry, and giving me the privacy of (if not pretending like you can’t see it happening) letting me let my heart break again as it needs to while I get on with my day. The boring part– laughing can wait for a bit, since I think it’ll happen, sooner or later. Or at least that’s what I hope.