Let’s get real for a moment: Are you living your life real and raw? Are you giving life all you have? Do the people closest to you know how much they mean to you? Do you show your excitement when you are excited? Do you cry when you are sad? Do you make yourself vulnerable?
Oh sure, I try to be transparent and real, but I never fully expose my whole self and I honestly don’t know where that stems from. Growing up, perhaps. Seeing how others react to certain situations, for sure. There’s been something along the way that has influenced me and stopped me from being raw. There’s something that has told me that I’m weak if I show emotions, whether it’s tears of sadness or jumping up and down from excitement. I’m guarded on the inside.
While I know all of the above to be true, I desperately do not want to be that way. I want to be at a place of comfort where I can cry or jump up and down, if that’s what I choose. Life is funny, isn’t it? We’re all trying to fit in somehow, someway to make our journey more enjoyable. We’re guarded with our emotions. We sometimes put up a front with others, even the ones closest to us.
I’d give anything to tackle life like my son. When he’s excited, he shows it. When he’s frustrated, he let’s that emotion come out. When he’s sad, he cries. When he’s scared, he comes and cuddles with me. He talks about his feelings all of the time throughout the day (and he sure does go through a lot of them).
So what happens from this kid stage in our lives to the grown up stage in our lives? What prevents us from showing all emotions? Why aren’t we real? I know that we can’t literally go about our day-to-day lives throwing tantrums and everything in between, but there’s some element of acting like kids that would really make our adult lives easier. And better. So much better.
Yesterday I was at a funeral for one of my second cousins. As is the case with all funerals, it was sad. So many tears flowing. So much pain showing through. But there were also reflections of how my cousin lived her life. There was laughter through the tears. There were stories shared about how she made the world a little bit better. All while this was going on, my mom and I were crying. Actually, to be honest, the second “Amazing Grace” started to play my eyes watered with tears. Instead of letting my tears flow though, I tried biting my tongue and pinching my leg to try to stop. I didn’t want to allow myself to cry.
WHY?! What the hell is wrong with me? Why do I try to be so tough? I do not know. I zoned out of the funeral for a minute and thought about why I don’t like to feel vulnerable. I honestly don’t have that answer either. I do think that being vulnerable is a tough thing to do, whether you’re at a funeral or doing something else. It’s hard to put yourself out there and not know what you will get in return.
But here’s what I do know: I’m vowing to change that about myself. I know that I’m in control of my life and I do not want to be this way. I don’t want to think twice about crying at a funeral or screaming with excitement when something good happens. Most importantly, I don’t want my family to not feel like they know the real me. I don’t want to hide behind my emotions. I don’t want to be so guarded for no real reason.
And it was in that moment at the funeral that I decided to change. To be more real and raw. To allow myself to be vulnerable. To show emotions and not downplay them. To be a better person.
So I focused back to the funeral, grabbed a tissue with one hand and my mom’s hand with the other, and let my tears flow.