Yesterday it was cold and cloudy, damp and dark outside. That’s exactly how I felt inside.
On rainy days, I want to be very still. I want to put on my coziest clothes—my short furry robe, my fuzzy socks, my super soft yoga pants—and I want to crawl under the covers and do nothing but read or nap or watch delicious movies.
So that’s what I did yesterday. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that my heart needed something more than sweats and sappy movies. It needed space to breathe. It needed air.
I knew I needed to get outside and I was hopeful that a warm shower would refresh me enough to shift my mood to get me there. But when I got in the shower, I just wanted to sit in the tub and let the hot water run all over me.
I plugged the drain, laid flat on my back, and with the back of my head touching the tub basin I let the water fill up around me until it was just touching—but not covering—my earlobes.
That was then the tears came. They didn’t come easily. They were pooling on my bottom lids, hovering and willing themselves not to come out on their own. I had to press them out. I had to say, “You can come out now. I won’t hold you back.” And I had to give them a little push and shove.
I didn’t make myself cry, I let myself cry. I needed to.
Every time I pushed out a tear, I felt like I was pushing out some pain that had been encapsulated and lodged in it. I was conscious of this as each drop rolled down the side of my face and landed in the water I was soaking in.
When there were more no more tears to press out, I lingered in that water for a long time. I put my hand on my abdomen and felt it rise and fall with each deep inhale and exhale. In through my nose, out through my mouth. Rise and fall. Inhale, exhale.
All I could think about as I laid there was tears. Tears, tears, tears.
How I needed tears. How I resisted tears. How I stifled tears. How good it felt to release tears. Tears. Tears. Tears. Long-awaited tears.
I exited the tub more refreshed than when I climbed in, but I didn’t leave the house as I had planned. Instead, I crawled back into bed and opened my favorite book and began a new chapter, a chapter I had bookmarked a few days ago even though I didn’t know what it was about. In stunned silence I read the first three sentences:
“Tears are a river that take you somewhere. Weeping creates a river around the boat that carries your soul-life. Tears lift your boat off the rocks, off dry ground, carrying it downriver someplace new, someplace better.”
--Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves
Tears. Creating a river, a current, a channel for me to get from where I am to where I need to go. Tears. Oh, why do I resist the tears?