It takes a good cry, or several, to get your hand to touch your face. To explore its contours and to see what lies beneath the thin skin that stretches over your eyes.
Crying has shown me the shape of my face. The curves where tears stall, the nooks that let them escape, making a beeline straight for my mouth. I trace a finger down the salty dry, residue from where a tear once trailed. And I see the shape of longing, I touch the slopes of happiness, I feel in my hands, the fullness of overwhelming emotions.
When I’m done crying, there is a strange new glow. My eyes sparkle invitingly. Suddenly, I find I am looking at myself straight in my eyes, more.
This is new and liberating. Crying has that power. Of discovery. Of freshness. Of endings. Of new energy.
I’ve tasted my tears now. Searing saltiness, reminiscent of cured memories. Memories I’d tucked away in the hope I’d never have to look. But they’re ready now, pickled, and pure in a whole new way. Waiting to be unwrapped. Waiting to hurt and liberate in equal measure.
The tears envigorate. Prepare me for what is to come.
Crying has made my heart fluid again. Turned it into a shapeshifting mass of water, held together by its own inward magnetic pull. That same heart I’d wrapped in layer upon layer of wisdom. The heart I’d helped grow strong (and perhaps cold, too) is salt water and sea breeze now.
The heart that has grown up, wise and clear, wants to grow young and naiive again. And so the tears come from that place of young-ness. Of the baby I once was.
Eyes full, always ready to spill over. A tiny nudge and the overflow is on. At the slightest hint of sorrow showing up. Of a kindred spirit. Of stories so alike they frighten.
I’ve found sharp loathing and a piercing ache in the spot where tears flow from. I try to stop them. But it is not to be. Not now, anyway.
And so they flow and they flow. Long after the urge to cry has left my body, they continue to flow. In that moment I know I’m not crying for my grief, or from the big sorrows alone. This is grief for every small, little, everyday pain.
From everyday dejection, defeat, disinterest. From that unanswered message. From that plan that didn’t include me. From that dress that didn’t fit. From having to make a choice that was no choice at all.
From the unknown hands that jabbed inside my teeshirt on that crowded bus. From that perv in the shape of a doctor. From the relative I can never speak of.
From not having made it. From holding myself in. From not being good enough. From balancing it all.
From moving from Bangalore to Goa. From moving from Goa to Bangalore. From wanting to be the hostess-with-the-mostess. From wanting it all. From that copy that refused to be written. From the pitch that never took.
From the love that turned sour. From friendship that I’ve let go of. From being too much. From not being enough. From people who didn’t pick me. From people I picked who wouldn’t have me. From people who had me, but fell so short of what I wanted of them. From people who had me, and who I had, but only just for a short while.
From distance. From too much closeness. From boundaries that were never made. From boundaries that were transgressed. From boundaries that were in places they never should have been. From being too hard on myself. From letting myself go easy.
Crying has shown me the shape of my face. In the abyss of loneliness that lies still, within, just beneath my eyes, and in the turn of my chin, I’ve felt a softness I didn’t know I had. A softness to hold in my tender hands, old sadness. I’ve found there, the power to choose myself. I’ve found strength to be myself.
Salt water and sea breeze, sunshine and sand — crying has shown me the source. A single drop from where I emerged, and the shapeless all-encompassing vast beyond that I must eventually go to.
One year ago: Tell me what you really like