“Scream without opening your mouth”
Updated: Oct 7
Words are tears that need to be written down. Tears are words that need to be shed.
– Paulo Coelho, Aleph
Once upon a time, I could not cry.
I could see something intensely sad on TV or something horrible might happen, but it wouldn’t really affect me. Nothing could really hurt me. I used to joke that I was dead on the inside. The only thing was, it wasn’t funny at all.
So, during a particularly dark period in my life, I began to self-harm.
I talk about this today, because one of the reasons I write is to inspire people who have resigned themselves to the negative patterns in their lives. I sincerely believe that you don’t need to resign yourself to anything - ever.
Self-harming is often likened to “screaming without opening your mouth”. That’s what it felt like to me. It was the only way I could get a glimpse of the pain I felt so deeply inside.
What made my pain worse than anyone else’s pain? Nothing at all. Very likely, it was exactly the same. The only thing was, I didn’t know how to deal with it.
At school, they teach us algebra and Newton’s laws of motion, about the Roman Empire and how clouds are formed. Nowhere do we learn, what to do with our feelings.
Most of us grow up thinking that feelings are bad, that feelings make us weak. Boys don’t cry and girls need to toughen up. We push through the fatigue, the worry, the disappointments and indecision, to get to a place where we are thriving. But are we really?
Things look positively sensational on the outside, but what happens when we scratch the surface? What happens when we dare peel that onion? A whole mess of crap comes out. And this is when I started to cry.
And as hard as it was to let in the pain, it meant I could finally experience real joy. It was only when I let in the pain, that I realised that pleasure part didn’t look quite like how I wanted, or expected it to. Letting in the pain essentially opened my eyes to what my life was really like. Letting in pain allowed me to see reality, no holds barred.
I can honestly say that it was both the best and worst experience of my life.
Nowadays, I’m a crier. I can cry when my daughter looks deep into my eyes. I can cry I when I read something poignant. I can cry after a hard day, when I feel completely beaten, and I can cry when my heart is overflowing with joy.
It is really, really, really good to feel.
I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to get here.
But, like all these things, everything happens when we are ready.