I felt it.
Bubbling up from deep inside, in spite of my desire to hold it together.
Dropping my almost-18-year old kitty off for more diagnostic testing, the sweet vet tech was simply asking me for updates on his condition.
I felt it rising.
“Focus, Jen, just focus…answer the questions…answer the…oops…oh, shit…here we go…”
Tears streaming down my cheeks. Couldn’t make words happen. Just sat there and silently sobbed. Unable to stop the wave of emotions, I had to let it crash into me, and pass on its own.
When I was finally able to speak again, I said the two words we use too much in the wrong times, and not enough in the right ones:
What was I sorry for?
For being overwhelmed by the idea of losing my ride-or-die furry best friend of 17+ years?
For loving another creature so deeply that the very thought of saying goodbye brought a deep swell of pain?
I was, in a nutshell, apologizing for being human.
I was “sorry” for showing my emotions.
I was repeating an old pattern, assuming I was imposing myself on this person and making her uncomfortable…and so I unconsciously apologized for not keeping it together.
Except who HASN’T been there?
Who HASN’T been overcome by emotion in a moment? Pretty sure no lizards reading this blog, so…all of you have.
When we “apologize” and hide our humanity, we perpetuate the problem…and no one ELSE feels safe to show their emotions either.
We do this ALL.THE.TIME. We dismiss our own feelings. We get embarrassed to show emotion, yet that is WHO WE ARE.
It’s what binds us together in this human experience.
Feeling. Loving. Hurting. Caring.
All part of the beautiful tapestry of emotions that make up our human existence, that make it SUCH a gift.
Later in the afternoon, a girlfriend called to check in on me. In recounting the events of the day, that wave hit again…and those words sprung again to my lips:
Except this time, I caught it immediately and, to powerfully break that unconscious pattern I said out loud:
“NO. I’m not going to apologize. This sucks and it hurts. And I’m going to cry and it’s okay that I’m going to cry.”
Catch yourself next time you apologize for having an emotion, because YOU do it too (I see you there…and you’re loved💖).
I’m NOT sorry for crying in that moment.
I’m NOT sorry for being overwhelmed by the love I have for this creature, for the pain of potentially losing him from this physical life.
I’m NOT sorry, because I know the person I’m talking to understands, and has been there too.
I’m NOT sorry, because by me owning my emotions, it makes it safe for other people to own theirs too.
I’m NOT sorry, because I never want to reach the place again where I’m so cut off from my emotions that I can’t express them in a healthy way.
I challenge you, gentle readers, to catch yourself next time you apologize for being the beautiful, tender-hearted creature you were born to be.
Sparkle on, friends…💖