Cry It Out
One day — it isn’t even a rainy day, or a day where the sky looks like it’s seen better days what with the amount of clouds donning their colours of mourn. It is a usual day with the usual weather, a bit on the cold side with the springing bite characteristic of the coming of Christmas. The sun isn’t shining, but you know it’s there. You have your favourite breakfast served in front of you, and you eat while your mum peels sweet potatoes next to you, discussing gardening with your dad. You’re in between them but they aren’t talking to you, and it’s how it’s always like. They aren’t ignoring you, but that’s just how it was. You stand up because you’re finished, the plate scraped clean — a habit brought upon by the resounding echo of your grandmother’s voice saying waste not, want not.
You then head off to the bathroom to shower, and it’s routine with the way you place your clothes by the sink, the way you shed off your pyjamas and fold them properly before putting them in the hamper like how your mother taught you to. Muscle memory the way you drape your wash cloth over the knob of the bathtub tap, the way you squeeze some toothpaste on your pastel pink toothbrush and start brushing it with timed and counted strokes — ten, twenty, thirty, rinse. You turn on the shower and the water is cold you flinch. You take the time under the showerhead, making sure you’re completely drenched and slick with water droplets rolling down your skin and dripping from your hair.
In the middle of squeezing some shampoo onto the palm of your hand, you stop. The orange liquid suddenly doesn’t look so warm in your cupped hand, the water clinging to your skin doesn’t feel so cold, your yellow towel doesn’t seem so vibrant in your periphery anymore — you just don’t feel anything. Then you feel it, a little itching at the back of your eyes, your view misting up, and your sight looks watered down, like you opened your eyes while the showerhead was open.
You don’t know when your started crying but you are, and the sobs wrack through your body like it was hollow and the wind is breezing through it, rattling your ribcage and past your lungs to chill your heart down to your spine. You hunch over and you’re still crying, and the shampoo is dripping forgotten in your hand, along with the reason why you’re crying in the first place. It’s an ordinary day with you doing your ordinary routine — nothing out of the usual — but here you are crying your eyes out into the bathroom tiles. At one point you open the shower to drown out the way you’re choking on your sobs, the way your lungs try to wrestle as much air in as possible, as if it’s trying to blow itself up big enough to cushion your heart beating erratically and painfully in your chest.
Eventually you get yourself back on track, coughing and hiccuping like your insides want to escape your body, but you swallow them down and keep them in. You scrub at your skin harder than usual, wash up a bit too forceful than necessary, like you were trying to berate yourself for letting yourself go those few moments. But the world continues spinning and you do as well.
However the whole day the feeling follows you, all throughout your make-up class and even when you’re with your mum and sisters and family, and you realise that even with all these people at arms’ length they still feel far away, because your heart is cowering somewhere far in the recesses of your body. Your sister asks if you had something in your eye what with the amount of times you tried blinking back your tears, and you just excuse it to your allergies when she follows up with an inquiry on your pink nose. The ride home is suffocating, the way you’re sat sandwiched in the middle, and you’ve never complained about it before but it feels different now, like it’s doing nothing to stop the amount of tears trying to break down the dams of the waterline of your eyes.
The moment you get home you head to your room, climbing up your double deck and throw yourself onto your pillows. You don’t cry, you don’t let yourself to, so instead you force yourself to go to sleep. And you do, the exhaustion of trying to keep yourself stringed together crashing down. You let yourself shatter on your mattress in a mess of limbs, tangled around your blanket and spooning a pillow. In the cusp of awake and asleep, you think you’re finally ok. When I wake up tomorrow I will be.
You are not. You wake up just before midnight with tears streaming down your cheeks, and your hands are bunching up the pillow you were spooning, shoving some of the fabric and cotton in your mouth to muffle your sobs. It’s disorienting and scary, the room is dark from when you forgot to even turn on your night light, and it’s like waking up from a nightmare. Except you know you had a dreamless sleep, and you still don’t know why you’re crying.
Of things you’re scared of the most, one of them has to be not being in control of yourself. Another one is how you’re so insecure that at the moment of weakness you suddenly remember all the moments of your faults, the memories flashing behind your eyelids like a head film made especially for times like these. All the times you got called stupid, immature, weird — all the times your flaws were outright pointed out suddenly fluxing out of your subconscious until it’s tangible in your crystalline tears. You pray for it to go away, for the tears, the memories, the pain, the horrible hollow feeling in your body cavity — you’re not sure. Maybe everything.
Maybe you wish for the universe to just swallow you up and turn you back into dust or the materials of stars. You feel the grip you have on your emotions slip away with every minute of lost sleep that ticks away, but it’s calming, therapeutic even, as the tears continue to drip. It’s not like the peace you get from listening to a good mixtape, or when you’re knitting, or listening to a good mixtape while knitting, but it keeps you moving and thinking and, eventually, you think maybe it’s ok. Maybe this is what you need.
Maybe you just need to cry it out.