I had my first therapy session today. It was good. I like her. I feel like we are going to have many great sessions in the future and more breakthroughs are ahead. I even had one today. I wouldn’t call it so much a breakthrough, but more of an “AHA” moment. Since today was an intro, it was more of me telling her about myself a little (or a lot). At about mid-session, she asked, “so I just want to check in with you right now. How are you feeling right now?” She must have noticed the same thing I was noticing; my voice was getting louder (not angry, more passionate, rather) and a little shaky, and I was talking faster. I was also a little light-headed.
I answered that I was actually getting a bit angry (so I guess, it must’ve sounded a little angry) now that I was talking about it (my separation). I also mentioned that sometimes, when I talk about this or other matters, I get flooded with emotions and sometimes start shaking and getting teary-eyed, with no explainable reason. She nodded her head and stated that it’s probably because I’ve been conditioned to suppress my emotions, even going back to my childhood. “Oooooohhhh, yeah that makes sense.”
You see, this is absolutely true. Growing up, anytime I started to cry, my parents would tell me things like, “don’t cry!” “Why are you crying? Hush!” I would be told these messages when I’d cry even directly after getting spanked! “Stop crying, we spanked you because we love you and want the best for you.” This may have been true. They probably truly believed that they were practicing the best parenting techniques. However, it makes absolutely zero sense to a child. In fact, to a child, that whole scenario is confusing on so many levels. Thoughts going through my child-self would probably have been something like this:
1. Why am I being hit by my parents who are supposed to love me? 2. I feel so much sadness and anger right now, but I’m going to try my best not to cry because I don’t want to get in more trouble. 3. They are telling me they love me and want the best for me, so maybe sometimes love looks like hitting and being mean and scary.
Back to my therapy session, as I sat in that room, I got teary-eyed and wanted to cry several times (even though I’ve now talked about my divorce to death and feel like I’m way past that crying stage), I stopped myself every time because I still associate crying to be a shameful act. And I know now that that’s not true AT ALL and that it’s actually very healthy to cry every once in awhile to release that energy, but I still can’t help but feel embarrassed to do it. It’s a work in progress for me, and will be for a long time, but it is something that I am aware of and am willing to take the time and energy to address. And in the end, that is all that one can do- take note and make progress, however small it may seem, and take pride in whatever little victories you can. Life is all about noticing the little victories and being proud of all of them.
A dear friend of mine recently told me, “Let those tears flow, mama. They are healing tears from the phoenix that you are rising from the ashes.”