Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Art of Crying

Life can be a little crazy. Sometimes a person needs to let off a little steam. Since drinking hurts my pancreas and chocolate keeps me up all night, I need to find other solutions. Like laughing. Being overcome with hysterical giggles makes me feel like a little kid. Maybe its the way it takes over my breathing. Laughter takes firm charge, lightening my load and leaving some perspective in its wake.

Crying works, too. There are times when all I want to do is cry. Like the other night. I’d gone to the car to look for my purse and, Oh! Northern lights of ethereal greens and pinks danced across the sky, jumping up and down like they’d just heard the best news ever. I didn’t lose it right away. I was too busy watching. But it was so damn beautiful.

It was an otherworldly sight, a glimpse of heaven through a window in the universe.  I wept like I always do when confronted with that kind of beauty.  I tend to apologize when I cry around other people. So that night was lovely, standing alone under the star studded sky and sobbing as the lights swept over them like so much fairy dust. 

Tears are big multi-taskers. They allow us to vent so we don’t blow ourselves up. Because life, in all its splendor and misery, can chip away at us. It leaves us wondering where the best version of us went. Self pity sidles in, wringing its hands. But we wait, and wisdom edges it right out the door. Especially if we put our inner critic away. Then, we have room to breath. To be kinder to others and ourselves. There you are! we say, and welcome our real selves home.

There is a time for everything. A time to buck up, and a time to break down. To acknowledge that you’re having a hard time. Don’t try to shop your feelings away, or drown them with behavior that leaves you feeling worse. Acknowledge your sadness and bewilderment over life’s crazy moments. Because sometimes you have to break before you feel better. As Leonard Cohen sings, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

The Writer’s Apprentice and the Treadmill

 I’ve learned a lot since I started this blog, some of it related to writing. This entry is dedicated to my work station. For the last two years, I’ve been walking on a treadmill while performing a multitude of writing related tasks. Using a table leaf that rests on the handles, I set the track speed for two miles per hour. This allows me to work two keyboards and drink a cup of tea while listening to the radio. The latter is only utilized when I’m not engaged in creative writing. Like now. This is a mere recounting of the facts.

I bought a treadmill for one simple, unfitness related reason. I can’t sit still. It’s  physically uncomfortable and kind of boring. The A.D.D. part of my brain adores my new routine. All that leaping onto and off the moving treadmill throughout the day. It’s beeping callback when I take a bathroom break or prepare to leave the house. It’s a stern task master, my treadmill.  It’s constantly teaching me things. Like today.

Today, I took multitasking to a whole new level. I was writing to literary agents, my laptop front and center on the table board, a guidebook to the right, cup of tea to the left. I was also practicing my part for our choir’s musical, ‘Les Miserables.’ I say ‘my part,’ grandly, though for me it means dressing in peasant garb, sitting offside, and trying not get so caught up in the action that I forget to sing. It’s harder than you think. My jaw slackens and the tears fall every time Johnny Bettger sings Jean Val Jean’s lines.

Anyway, adding one more piece to the mix, I rested my choir book on the window ledge to my immediate right. It worked fine until the  moment I closed my eyes, clasped my hands to my chest and started singing Johnny’s part. I was, in fact, praying for someone in my family, and setting my plea to music, just like Jean val Jean. Alas. Praying in that manner does not work on a treadmill. Maybe if I hadn’t closed my eyes. Or was able to hold on to the handles.

In a half second, the track threw me backward and held me fast against the wall. I didn’t have enough room to completely fall off, so my feet continued skidding against the tread while my whole body vibrated in protest. I stopped singing immediately, my ‘God on High’ song ending in a screech. Somehow I managed to climb off, still uttering the words, ‘Dear Jesus,’ but in a more emphatic, self serving way. The good news is, I raised my heart rate, which is always a bonus.

I will continue writing on my treadmill. I will still sing, or listen to the radio. I will pray, from time to time. But I will not do all three simultaneously. And I will never close my eyes again while walking. See? A life lesson safely tucked under the belt, and me still on top, going strong.