“When did this happen?” the EA (Emotions Anonymous) member asked me.
“Last night,” I said.
She was visibly shocked. “Wow! You’re doing way better than I was in that situation. I was a mess. You’re really holding it together!”
She said this like it was a good thing.
“My issue isn’t with being able to hold it together,” I told her. “I can always hold it together. I’m pro at acting fine while in pain. My issue is not allowing myself to NOT hold it together. My challenge is to allow myself to break down and be messy.”
We chatted a bit longer. At the end, she said, “Be strong.”
And then she paused briefly, squinting her eyes. “No,” she corrected herself. “Be weak.”
And we both laughed a gentle, kindred spirit sort of laugh.
And inside I felt something click or break or shift.
And I cried the whole way home. Easily. Without forcing it.
It’s the permission I’ve been unknowingly searching for for decades. Jen, it’s okay to be weak.
All this time, I had no idea.