I can’t remember the last time I had a good cry. I can’t remember the last time I had a bad cry. Even though I tend to be an overly emotional person, for some reason over the last year or so I have not cried. When I needed to cry, the tears wouldn’t come. When I wanted to cry, the time or place wasn’t conducive to a good sob fest. So I have not cried in probably over a year.
Work has been supremely stressful for the last couple of weeks and although I’ve been able to deal with it (and by deal, I mean stuffing myself with Oreos), yesterday I had enough. We’ve been implementing a new data entry system, and to say it has been challenging is an understatement. Do you remember those old slide puzzles? The ones where in order to get the picture, you have to slide the pieces around and if one piece isn’t moved right, then the whole puzzle gets screwed up? That’s what this system is like. In order for it to work correctly, everyone has to do their part JUST RIGHT, and let’s be honest here – NO ONE ever does their part just right. So guess who has to clean up the mess? That’s right – me.
I hit my breaking point just as my coworkers were about to leave (my shift starts and ends an hour later than everyone else – I like it this way), and one coworker knew that the dam was about to burst, but he just said a few kind words and left. After everyone had left, I let it go. I put my head down on my desk and I cried.
I cried for the stress I was feeling, I cried for the frustration that had bubbled up and over the brim, I cried and cried and cried. After a few minutes, I realized that I was not just crying over this stupid system, I was crying for a year’s worth of bottled up pain.
I cried for the Coworker stress that happened back in February and still exists today (but is only about 10% of what it was); I cried because I stuffed my feelings down with food and gained 20 pounds; I sobbed big wailing sobs because money is so tight and it’s Christmas time; I cried because Shawn hasn’t worked in over a month and his business might not pick up again until spring. I bawled because I am almost 40 years old and I have turned into the very thing I never, ever wanted to be: a frumpy, tired, stressed out, overweight office drone and I’m afraid it’s too late and it’s going to be too hard to change.
So I cried at my desk. And I cried on the drive home (so hard that I thought I was going to have to pull over on the side of the road until I could get it together). When I got home, I went straight to my husband’s arms and I cried to him (and he said and did all the right things – including cooking dinner!). I cried until my eyes were literally dry and hurting.
God, it felt good.
Today I feel refreshed, cleansed. I feel like my “reset” button has been set and I can continue on with my life. Yes the work stress will still be there, but I can deal with it. Yes, I’m still overweight but I can deal with that too. Yes money is still tight, but when is it not?
Today I feel lighter and better able to deal with all the stuff that a 39.75 year old frumpy office drone has to deal with. I will never again underestimate the power of a good cry, the power of letting all out no matter how red and puffy and tear-streaked it may be. From now on, I will make time to cry if I feel the need. I can’t push aside this stress-relieving resource any more.
If you haven’t cried in a while, find a quiet place and some alone time, and let. it. go. I promise, it will do your soul a world of good.