I allowed myself to cry today. I say, “I allowed myself to cry…” instead of “I cried…” because the difference is significant to me. I wasn’t a victim of happenings in my life. The world around me didn’t make me cry. I chose to. I had a moment when I felt that I might be able to and let the feeling swell up within me. It would have been easy to decide that I wanted to refuse to dwell in this feeling and move on to a happier one. But the experience of actually letting myself cry with the understanding that this experience is something I control has tended to be a truly pleasurable one. I’ve been told that not allowing myself to experience this kind of emotion is simply stifling myself, that I’m bottling up my feelings when I refuse to dwell in unhappy emotion. I disagree. I believe our emotional states are directly affected by our temporary perspectives of the world and that our temporary perspectives are largely the products of choice. The experience today was rather unexpected. It was a mixture of memories and a choice that lay in front of me.
I know I tend to offend people regularly. This outcome is never something I intend, but it takes great effort to avoid offending. This is why I often refrain from social interactions in the work-place. I know that I’m going to say “3.14” and someone is going to hear “lasagna”. Not long ago, I made a post on Facebook that was the product of my playing with the phrase “itty bitty titty committee”. The idea was what would such a committee actually look like? Sure it may seem immature or even sexist to reference such a phrase. But life is about having fund and not taking oneself too seriously. It was certainly not malicious. Either way, this post offended a coworker I had recently called “friend” to the point that she seemingly wished to dissolve any kind of lingering relationship.
We had, months before, spent quite a bit of time together in the pursuit of a common political interest. At the event (And I understand that one may not want to call this an event. But calling it an event here is the result of an effort to try to keep the topic of this post somewhat ambiguous.) there was great racial division. There were meetings for everyone but the “white” people. “White” people were often asked to speak last. And those of us of European heritage abided as, although we were there to help, to put our bodies on the line for the greater good just as everyone there was, we were in a foreign land. I developed the opinion along the way to this point in my life that it didn’t matter what color a person’s skin was. But that it only mattered what was in his/her mind and heart. I was told throughout this time that my efforts to try to help in person were the result of my trying to be a “white savior” and that donating money was just the “white” way of trying to fix something. I spent a lot of this time feeling as though I should be sorry for something.
I had opportunities to feel so much pain over her apparent perspective that I had failed her so frequently in the time we’d spent here. But I didn’t allow myself to. I, instead, allowed myself to accept that we were just very different people with very different perspectives and decided I was going to allow myself to love her from a slightly greater distance. Months later, when my post caused such offense, I figured this was the end. I was fine with it if that’s were this relationship was going to end. It was my primary goal not to cause any more offense. If that meant cutting ties completely, it was the greater good. Today, I made the mistake of mentioning to a coworker that the song playing through her computer was the favorite song of this other coworker. She called the coworker in after I left the room. A few minutes later, the coworker sincerely thanked me for remembering her favorite song. The thanks was like ripping off a scab. It brought it all back, the feeling that I was wrong in whatever action I chose, the loneliness, the cold, and the fleeting hope that this familiarity had the potential to be a friendship. I didn’t want this hope back. I just wanted to heal. At the same time, a part of me wanted to feel that again, the enchantment of the cold air, the feeling that I was putting my body on the line to at least try to make a difference, the love of almost every person I met during this time, and most of all the fleeting hope, the wild horses. It was worth it. But I don’t suspect I’ll let myself feel that way about this any time in the near future.