I always knew looking back on my tears would bring me laughter, but I never knew looking back on my laughter would make me cry. ~ Cat Stevens
I cry a little every day. I have done so for almost six years now. Maybe it’s cleansing, but I’m getting rather tired of it.
I grew up being the dependable, strong child in the family. That sounds like a good thing, but it wasn’t necessarily. I was the middle of five children and what I was really doing was trying to keep the peace. Discord terrified me because my dad was a violent alcoholic, and at times violent while sober. I tried to soothe my younger sisters and I begged my older angry brother not to make waves at the dinner table. Then, when my brother didn’t take my advice and Daddy dragged him from the table beating him with a belt, buckle and all, I would plead with my dad to stop. I learned to plead from a distance else my dad would give me a whack on his back swing. Dinner was fun at my house.
I’m not sure why that last paragraph popped in on this post. I think it’s the fact that I was scolded for crying when I was a child. For example, I would be crying when my father finally let go of my brother and he (Dad) would scream, “Stop your damn crying or I’ll give you something to cry about!” So I learned not to cry. Maybe I’m just catching up now. All those unshed tears from my youth are finally allowed to flow. And so they do.
Does this mean that my ex-husband did me a favor by leaving? He saw how desperately I needed to cry so he decided to help me out? Gave me a reason to cry? Gave me many reasons to cry? My tongue is firmly in my cheek now and I’m not crying. I’m laughing. It feels good to laugh. It reminds me that I still have a sense of humor, and I can laugh at myself and my situation. This would make great slapstick. Maybe I’ll write a play. I’ll call it “Now That You Broke My Heart, What’s Gonna Pump My Blood?”
I saw my ex on Saturday at Stella’s birthday party. (She’s six.) I recognize now, and have for some time, that he’s nothing like the D I once knew and loved. Sometimes I may sound like I want him back, but I don’t. It simply means I’m having a weak moment. Or I’m feeling lonely. Or maybe I’m remembering and longing for what was a long time ago. We had a lot of good years together. There’s much to remember fondly. But wanting it back is fantasy. It doesn’t exist now.
Happy tears. Sad tears. They’re all good.
Bitterblue by Cat Stevens at Royal Albert Hall (1970s)