I knew not to. If I cried, people would leave me, so many had already done so. If I cried, I was weak, when I was supposed be strong and happy. If I cried, I trusted, and that would just result in hurt.
These were lies.
I held onto them for years. I learned to share without feeling; to speak of the things that caused me the most pain as if I were telling someone else’s story. I learned to build up a wall, a wall so big that I lived my life hiding behind it.
I became the expert at hiding. I knew exactly what to say and how to react in almost any situation. I took to being the funny and outgoing girl, not giving anyone a glimpse into my ever aching heart.
When I did cry, I would do so in quiet. In isolation. All alone.
The lies were wrecking me. I kept friendships at a surface level, steering clear of anything romantic and pushing away anyone who attempted to get close to me. I was caught in the vicious cycle of longing for deep, meaningful relationships but being too afraid to hold onto them.
I wanted to break out. I wanted to cry. I wanted to connect with my story, with my friends, with myself. I wanted to tear down the wall. And, nearly 20 years later, it happened. I couldn’t function. I found myself without a job, living in a friends basement and spending countless hours in therapy.
It was so hard. Slow and terrifying, but ever increasingly rewarding.
The pain of taking down the wall brick by brick was excruciating. Old wounds were uncovered, and memories exposed. I had to learn to trust myself and others, connecting my emotions with my words. Several times I tried to put the wall back together, the lies urging me to stay hidden. But, I pushed forward, embracing vulnerability, embracing bravery, and embracing the truth.
And then, I cried. And felt. Freely.
The wall is falling. Bricks breaking and turning to dust. The layers becoming less and less. Step by step, brick by brick, the barrier is crumbling, revealing my true self. My genuine self.
Life is a continual process of tearing down our walls. During our journey, lies will try to stop us, convincing us to stay hidden, the trading of deep relationships for a sealed soul. But, they will fade amidst bravery, and the truth will remain. It’s about learning to be vulnerable with each other, sharing in happiness and tears, excitement and anger. It’s learning how to cry.