Never Let Them See You Sweat

Yesterday, I was checking out at Barnes and Noble, excited to be getting a “real” book, when the clerk and I saw a little boy walking up to the register. When the clerk asked him how she could help him, his face crumpled , tears rolled down his chubby cheeks and he blurted out “I can’t find my Mom.” Would you rip my heart out and stomp on it please? There was no preamble, no careful choosing of words. He was terrified, but was able to supply his Mom’s first name, so the clerk used the P.A. “Brittany, please come to the front of the store.” Mom appeared very quickly and he ran to her, getting the hug he so desperately needed. Mom did not discount his fear and just said “Oh honey , I was just over there, I’m so sorry.” Good Mom. Later I thought that the clerk had been very perceptive and never used the word lost. She could have said “We have a lost little boy up front, looking for his Mom, Brittany.” The little boy was not “lost”, he didn’t need a map, he wanted his Mom.

I cried when I got to my car. After Roger died, I remembered how many times I cried and wanted my Roger. I knew he would not magically appear and hug me, or say “Oh honey, I was just over there.” I still look for Roger, every day. Adults are supposed to “filter” what we say, and control ourselves. My grief is messy, raw and can’t be filtered, and my rage needs lots of expletives to express it. My unsocial and naked feelings sometimes escape, but l try to rein them back in. Maybe instead of reining in my feelings, I need to run the horse until we are both sweaty and tired.

There are so many rules about looking like we have it all under control. Be cool and chill out, and never let them see you sweat! We even created a new word, chillax, which combines chill and relax. In the seventies, we were told to “Let it all hang out.”, and reveal our feelings. Remember Primal Scream therapy? I liked the “idea” of being real with all of my feelings, but I didn’t really live it. I didn’t let it all hang out, and I don’t think my screams qualified as primal.

When I cry, I almost always apologize for being out of control and so obviously sad. I cry when I am angry too.Tears are a one size fits all response to any out of control emotions I have. Why do so many women apologize for crying? Are we hurting anyone? Are we care taking even as we cry? Please don’t be upset, or I don’t want my tears to make you feel uncomfortable. Just a little crazy-masking ….  Men do not want to be called a “pussy” or be “pussy-whipped”, which translates to “Don’t be like a woman!” We all know this reference is not about felines. Men do not fret and they are absolutely never “aflutter”. Men are calm, cool and collected. I need a good cry…

In just a few years, the authentic little boy who cried and showed fear, will say ” I know where I am going, I am not lost and I don’t need a stupid map.” He will be the keeper of the remote because the shows you like to watch are all “stupid” and All Star Wrestling ” is a learning experience. He may even say “Please don’t cry.”

1 thought on “Never Let Them See You Sweat”

  1. Even though I am not a crier (wish I was more of one), I wish no one would apologize for crying. Heartfelt emotions ranging from despair to joy can come out tearfully. They are meant to come out however they come out. To deny them (the feelings) their outlet does no one any good. I sure appreciated the story of the little boy in the bookstore and his mom. Thanks Danita!
    (p.s. Maybe I was going for that primal scream when I earned the nickname “screamer” growing up.)


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