It was May 1979, and I was nine years old, and I lived in Junction City, Kansas. I had just completed my last day of 4th grade. My siblings and I had attended St. Xavier Catholic School in Junction City, Kansas instead of the school on base. I honestly have no idea how my mom, a year+ new to the country, was able to send four children to a private school (even with financial aid). I now understand parents find a way.
We attended a private school our second year in the country because a G.I., thinking I was a kindergartener, lured me down the hill (while at recess) by telling me he lost his money and he would give me $20 if I helped him find it. Surprise, surprise, he did not lose his money. I was able to escape before he could physically harm me (thank God for stupid, — it’s hard to run after a child with your pants around your ankles).
With BTK on the loose, a swarm of crimes again children on base, and my experience on the school grounds, I can understand why we were In a private school. My fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Webb, was the kindest teacher I had ever had. I was not a good student— I was always missing homework and wanted to socialize more than I wanted to study. Still, she was so kind and treated me special, something I had not experienced before.
Mrs. Webb told us on the last day of school, she would be moving to Illinois, and we would no longer see her at the school. I fought back the tears in school and on the bus. Even though I fought hard to hold back my tears, I remember my mom asking me what was wrong. Ashamed and afraid I thought I would get in trouble, I told her nothing. I remember finding a secret place to cry. My heart hurt. I was sad for a while.
I was already conditioned by that age that crying was wrong and crying over people was stupid. My mom never told me that, and now I believe she would have comforted me. Still, it was too late, perhaps some of her impatience or the time she would be annoyed by my nears taught me that. Don’t get me wrong, she was a very attentive mom yet I learned early on that there was something “wrong” with me – most of it my conclusion.
Yesterday, after several days of working exceptionally late on top of months of working every day, I broke. One demand after another and it was a tiny floating feather that had me in tears.
Long story just to say I thank God for my ability to break down and deal with my feelings instead of suppressing them. To some, it may seem week or question my sanity, but to me, it is something to celebrate. Being able to break childhood conditioning and belief systems that promoted self-shame is short of fantastic for me.
I was able to release pent-up tension from exhaustion and still meet my deadline. How crazy do you think I looked as I typed while I cried. My husband came in several times to check on me and comforted me with snacks. 😊 When I told him I would be okay, he believed me.
I think its cool that I live in a feeling environment. I have two emotional children and two that unnerve me when they cry – yet all of them are their authentic selves, and they are strong human beings. When they were younger, Jordan and Tristan would cry at the end of the school year. The openly admitted they would miss their teacher. It became an end of year routine.
Yes, I thank God for breaking the suppression cycle. Releasing pent-up emotions is HEALTHY. Acknowledging your baggage and the discomfort of being vulnerable is HEALTHY. Embracing your sane and “crazy” is HEALTHY. We are all a little bit of both.
Gratitude has changed my attitude in such a way that I am able to grow further. Am I uncomfortable showing my emotions? Yes. Does the discomfort stop me? No. The growth process is not always pretty but its damn sure worth it.
Dare to share your feelings with someone, even if at the end, they just don’t get you. #itstheclimb