The other morning, as I drove home, I heard the song “Save Your Tears” by The Weeknd on the radio. I had taken myself to my favorite neighborhood cafe for some outdoor reading and writing time.
“Save Your Tears” is a song I’ve heard a fair amount of times. Usually it’s a song I listen to, a song I enjoy. But this time, it actually brought me to tears.
I parked the car and sat inside for a bit. I didn’t want to run the risk of seeing any of my neighbors, I didn’t want to have to try and explain why I was crying, because I wasn’t quite sure.
I don’t think it was any one thing.
Actually, there were a number of reasons I could have been crying.
For over two weeks now, I’ve been dealing with a pinched nerve, which at its worst led to tingling down my arm, into my right hand and fingers. It has created pain and tightness in my neck/shoulder area. It has made everyday things like brushing my teeth and washing my face harder to do. But that wasn’t why I was crying.
Since my son’s high school hosted Open House, about a month ago, I have had extreme pain in both my knees. It’s difficult to bend and pick up something that I dropped. It’s too painful to squat and pull weeds out of my garden. So I plop down onto the sidewalk and weed my garden and then have to figure out a way to get back up. But that wasn’t why I was crying either.
I think it was the lyrics, the simple repetition of “Save your tears for another day.”
Because I do that, all the time. I save my tears for another day or another part of the day. I stop myself from crying in the Ralphs parking lot, as I load our bags of groceries into the car. I don’t cry as I unlock our front door, but wait until I get inside where no one can see me or hear me.
And that is the bottom line — where no one can see me or hear me. Because it’s been my experience that me crying — out of pain, or fear, or frustration, or weariness — makes those around me uncomfortable. Which means on top of me trying to take care of myself and let the tears out, I’m left trying to soothe and reassure my family while downplaying my tears and whatever it was that caused me to cry in the first place.
Except the other day during my virtual therapy session. I cried. I cried multiple-Kleenex, nose-running, red-blotchy-eyes kind of crying. Because I generally keep everything in. I am so good at biting my tongue. At keeping my stoic game face on. At not letting on how hurt I really am. How much pain I really feel. And how much help I need.
I wouldn’t say I felt “better” after my crying session. But I definitely didn’t feel worse, either.