“But a mermaid has no tears, and therefore she suffers so much more.”
Hans Christian Andersen,    The Little Mermaid

tearsI can’t cry.  Don’t get me wrong, I can pretend. I can cause my eyes to water long enough to get my point across, or to make someone think that I am crying.  I am a master at burying my head, or at least turning my head, so people believe that there are real tears; but they don’t exist.  I can pull a tear out of myself for certain occasions, or even really sad movies, but those tears are soft, easy and do nothing for my soul.  As for crying long enough and deeply enough to cleanse my soul, I haven’t done that it decades.

I believe that crying is a way that the soul let’s go of the grief it holds.  I don’t think that I am one to want to hold onto grief, although I tend to take my depression to levels that are not necessarily sane.  I can lie in a bed, in the dark and lonely hours before midnight and stare out the window contemplating the idea of so many things, but I can not cry.  Maybe I am too cerebral, or maybe I am too in tune with my emotions.

I imagine that each of the above things are apart of it, but I also imagine my deep seeded need to bury all my feelings, and hide from the world is more.  I don’t show my real self to the world, I don’t allow myself a moment of peace and quiet to fall into.  There is no safe place for me to land.  And the thing about tears is it makes you vulnerable.  For those few minutes that the salt runs down your cheeks you are absolutely vulnerable.  And I am never vulnerable.  And when faced with the reality that we are all vulnerable to something, I do not cry, I get mad.

I would like nothing better than to find a quiet and safe place to rest and cry my eyes out.  To somehow take all the sorrow, the fear, the depression and the loss of all the dreams I had and release them.  To give them to God, to cleanse my soul and allow myself to be free, if only for one moment.  But somewhere along the way, I have learned not only to bury my feelings, but to ignore all that has gone wrong.

We all have dreams that haven’t come true.  Dreams of love, or romance. Dreams of comfort or help.  Dreams of beauty or even dreams of riches, not wealth but the riches this world can give you without touching the bank account.  I, like everyone, had those dreams, but somewhere along the way I simply walked away from them.  I walked away from what I needed and believed the hand I was dealt was what I deserved.  Is it a part of being adult that we realize our dreams are just smoke in the mirrors, and our reality is all we deserve?  At what point do we realize that what we hope for, what we long for, what we need, is no longer important?  When the world finally disappoints us that last time? When our parents, our husbands, even our friends disappoint us that last time?   When is it that we bury everything great that we used to be, and only live half a life? A life without freedom to cry?  A life where we don’t demand that safe place to fall?

I figured it out last night.  The last time I had a cathartic cry was in 2002.  That is eleven years ago.  The event, the last time I let go so far that my soul was literally reborn was eleven years ago.  And I can’t tell you how long before that it had been.  Crying is the cleanse.  It is the ability to deal with the sorrow, the grief, the disappointment, the reality and then through the cleaning, move on.  What I wouldn’t give to have snot running down my nose, my cheeks splotchy and wet, my knees giving out on me, and the world to stop for just one moment so I can grieve.

Maybe my soul realized that it is too much.  Maybe my soul realized that if it started to cry, it might never stop.  Maybe it is fear of the great well of horror that is waiting for me in my mind.  Maybe it is the realization that there is no place in my life for my own sorrow, my own tears, my own grief.

And I have grief; I have amazing reserves of grief.  I have so many disappointments in my life, so many realities in my life that it can stop my heart; but it literally can not bring the tears.  I am sitting here thinking about all those truths in my life and my eyes are as dry as the desert that exists in my dreams.  There is no truth to why I can’t cry, but I long to cry with every being of my soul.

I am not sure why this life is so much different from what it once was shaping up to be.  I am not sure why the things I once took for granted as mine, I no longer do.  I don’t know why I gave up crying.  While I am a self-aware person, especially after years of therapy, I can’t tell you why I don’t cry.  I imagine some people don’t need to cry, my husband has his outlet is liquor.  That helps him deal with the emotional that he never shows.  I suppose in some ways I have replaced true feelings with books.  If I can live through my characters than I don’t have to live through my own life.  And that thought saddens me.

It saddens me that I have learned to bury my truth so far down that I can’t cry.  It saddens me that the only emotions I am allowed to feel are those that I can show the world.  It saddens me that instead of wailing against my disappointments I have somehow convinced myself that I deserve it.  I deserve a life without crying, as much as I deserve a life without comfort.  I deserve the pain from never shedding a tear. I deserve to live like the mermaids of long ago; in pain with no outlet to find.