I’m throwing a party next week, but the truth is, I don’t feel much like celebrating lately. I’ve been in a rut I can’t fully explain or blame on one thing, but the best I can attribute it to is a series of events not going the way I had planned.

Yesterday was a good example. I took until 2 p.m. to decide what I wanted to eat for lunch. In fact, I decided I wanted to eat nothing at all. I wanted, specifically, a Chunky Monkey smoothie from Fresh Healthy Cafe. So I got my things together and drove to the mall, I walked in and it was like I had entered Litchfield Correctional. Silver bars from floor to ceiling. The name wiped clean from the sign. Fresh Healthy was gone.

So I walked back to my car, head down, slower than Eeyore on a sweaty summer day. I got in, put my seat back, took a breath and started sobbing. This may sound dramatic (or about a smoothie) but it’s not and it’s actually just a thing I do sometimes. Sit in my car and cry it out. I’m crying for happiness, for confusion, for sadness, for solitude, for sanity. Sometimes I’m crying for no reason. But I’ll cry and cry and cry until my tear ducts run dry.

I’ve been crying a lot lately and over some pretty small things:

  • I cried when I was not able to find the exact paper plates I want to use at the party I’m hosting.
  • I cried when I no longer knew what to eat for lunch yesterday after my smoothie shop was shut down.
  • I cried when a friend didn’t answer my phone call the other day, even though I know she was likely busy.
  • I cried my face off last night when my daughter asked me to sing “You are My Sunshine” to her, because no words have ever rung more true than “you make me happy when skies are gray” in that moment.
  • I cried when I tried to pay a toll but my EZ-Pass went off (I know I don’t have any money left on it).

“Sometimes I Cry” is one of my favorite Chris Stapleton songs. While he can point to the one thing causing his melancholy (a lover he’s now livin’ without), I’ve always felt like it was relatable to many situations.

“There are days that I can walk around like I’m alright
And I pretend to wear a smile on my face
And I could keep the pain from comin’ out of my eyes
But sometimes, sometimes
Sometimes I cry.”

I’m no song writer, but I’ve always dreamt of being a poet. And if Chris and I were ever alone in a room as he was conceiving this song, I would have suggested he add some verses to open up the concept to a broader, not just heartbroken audience. If he let me, I would have added this (he would have had to change his song to make it more rhyme-y):

Sometimes I cry and I don’t really know why
But I know it feels bad and good all at the same time.

Crying can feel like the perfect release from a negative moment or situation despite how painful getting to the point of crying can feel. It’s like popping a pimple when all the puss has risen to the surface and you know it’s just time.

The kind of crying I’m talking about though, the kind that feels like it comes out of nowhere and is triggered by things that should not trigger it, can still feel just as freeing if you resist fighting it.

And so I let myself do it as often as I feel it, no matter the audience no matter the time. Sure, I try to make sure I’m alone so I don’t make EVERYONE I meet feel uncomfortable being a big crying blubbery mess. But if I need to cry, I cry and I try to limit how hard I try to stop it.

And it works. It doesn’t bring back my smoothie shop or my EZ-Pass toll. It won’t find me the Gaston plates I need for my party. It can’t make my friend answer the call. And despite it happening as I’m singing “You are My Sunshine” to my daughter, it could never stop me from singing to her when she asks.

But it makes me feel alive and not just alive but human. It reminds me that I’m not just here to work and make lunches and fold laundry and go to sleep and wake up and repeat. It reminds me there are feelings, feelings I can’t always explain or understand, that live in me and come out when they want. It reminds me I have hopes and dreams, and I’ve worked hard to accomplish a lot but have so much work ahead to accomplish even more.

It reminds me I’ve lived through some shit and dealt with more than I should have had to, but that I’m here to tell about it. It also reminds me that while now I’m passively crying in my car while driving, there have been times where my tears have paralyzed me.

It assures me that at some point, the crying will end and I will instead be laughing. That maybe the salt will actually even be good for my face and that my eyeliner always glides on a little bit easier when my lids are swollen and puffy.

Sometimes, it’s how I know I’m being ridiculous. Or dramatic. Or unreasonable. Or how I know I need to take a step back and remember how good I have things. How much worse others have it and how blessed I really am.

So sometimes I cry. And I really do know why. Because it’s just a thing I do and a part of being me.

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