We’ve gone a full year in very trying circumstances and being the homebody type, I haven’t missed feeling stressed about going out or staying home. But we all have our limits and those limits have been sorely tested over the last 12 months. There have been oceans of tears shed and somehow, we see that as a weakness. And I’ve thought that myself, and through a really interesting book I read, I began to see the strength of tears.
Random question for you: are you a Jeopardy fan? I watched the late Alex Trebek host Jeopardy probably since the 1990’s and I’m still a huge fan of that show to this day. He always seemed to ride under the radar, never really leading a splashy life, a beloved, calm and steady presence in our lives.
But then he was diagnosed with cancer. Facing his own mortality, he wrote his autobiography “The Answer Is…Reflections on My Life”. *
He was actually funny and warm, everyone’s favorite dad who did his best to stay in the background and allow the contestants to be the star of the long-running game show.
So, I was surprised that near the end of his autobiography, this very wise gentleman wrote such profound words about crying and tears.
“Interestingly, the longer I’ve lived with the cancer, the more my definition of toughness has changed. I used to think not crying meant you were tough. Now I think crying means you’re tough. It means you’re strong enough to be honest and vulnerable. It means you’re not pretending. And not pretending, being willing to let your guard down and show people how you truly feel and admit that you’re a wuss, is one of the toughest things a person can do.”
I’m not sure why I’m surprised – but it certainly opened my eyes. You see, I’ve spent a lifetime apologizing for wearing my heart on my sleeve because I was ridiculed for it. I’m a tender – albeit strong – woman. Compassion is one of my strongest traits.
And yes, I cry.
Trying to stuff down tears that are intent on coming out is hard and exhausting. And over this last year, some days I can stuff down the tears. Other days, not so much.
It’s painful for me that I haven’t seen my grandchildren for over a year. THAT makes me cry.
The whole point of this is that crying doesn’t mean you’re weak. All these years I thought I was a weak person. I’m not weak – I’m strong but the inopportune tears always made me feel ashamed and humiliated.
I know the last year has been hard. I know the last year has been exhausting – especially for women as we bear the extra burdens that come with parenting and marriage.
And I’m grateful for a beautiful tribe to lean on during the toughest times and for aromatherapy to help me soothe those raw emotions.
We still have a ways to go in this “adventure” and we most definitely need to keep our guard up – be strong through the tears.
Thank you for being here – you’re a bright spot in my day and I’m grateful to have you in my life. If you need someone to lean on, don’t feel like you’re alone – let’s talk today!
* The Answer Is…Reflections on My Life By Alex Trebek. (c) 2020 Alex Trebek. Excerpt used with permission Simon and Schuster.