For decades I resisted them. I fought them. It was not safe to cry. It brought only more abuse for showing weakness and much satisfaction for someone who is not me.
Eventually, I was unable to cry. Sure, I can get all moist in the eyes at a bittersweet film. Even the saddest story, in print, will bring not a drop anywhere. I still have my humanity, can feel sympathy, experience empathy and express help however I can, but tears are no longer a part of my life.
Even strong emotion is difficult after so many years of it being a source of unwanted attention and pain. I can feel happiness, but joy is gone. Sadness, fear, pain, terror, all still here. I understand bliss, can express it, but not feel it.
It worked for so long. It facilitated my survival. Now that I no longer need to be so self-protective, well, I guess that saying is true, use it or lose it. Lost. Gone.
Although, recently there have been some stirrings. Of what, I am not sure, but they are in the realm of emotions. It frightens me. There are lots of reasons, but I think that the most significant is that I am afraid that if I am able to actually feel something and be able to express something, that I will lack the ability to control any emotions that happen. Some people, particularly women, resist or fear laughing because it triggers some weakness of the bladder and, well, you know the result. Same thing happens when some of us cough or sneeze too hard.
But, emotions. If they happen I might not be able to control them. And, I do not think that I am unreasonable or the least bit silly to worry about this. What if I allow myself to fully feel, experience, fear. What if I can then never break free of it? What if I feel anger? What if it takes control of me and I find that I can never come back from it? What if I allow sorrow into my life and I get stuck there forever? What if nothing can ever bring me back from allowing myself to feel true, full, fully-manifested emotions? I cannot take the risk.
Still. The boys make me laugh. They and their parents make my heart sing and soar and I do not fear those emotions. I embrace them.
Still. This morning I, unable to sleep, I was looking at NASA's Hubble (my sweet baby) images of nebulae, star clusters, galaxies and more and I felt something. I felt happiness of a different kind. I felt awe and the sweetness of creation, the greater than self.
It is not much, I guess, but it is a beginning.