Oh, sometimes I think I’m clever enough to do it.
I edit my words, costume my body and fix my face so I can act the part. But truth is, I never manage to fool anyone who looks closer than my plastic smile.
I can’t hide my heart.
And I don’t know why I try-I don’t get points for pretending.
There’s no prize at the end of this long road for the one who makes it with fewest tears.
No one offers me any token for the months or years or decades I make it without breaking down or cracking up.
But I damage my own soul by shoving the feelings deep. I clog my arteries by swallowing every angry word. Sorrow turns to despair which turns to hopelessness if I never let it out.
And like it or not, it leaks out somewhere.
So I’m learning to speak my truth, to name my feelings and express them in healthy ways:
- I journal.
- I share in safe spaces like bereavement groups and my church small group.
- I exercise-which helps to burn off “steam” or just that awful sense of discomfort when darker feelings overwhelm my heart.
- I build rest into my day along with silence so my mind and heart get a break from constant self-restraint and editing needed during conversation.
- I read helpful articles and books.
- I write this blog.
- And when I need to, I talk to someone who is making my journey more difficult and try to work it out.
All of this takes energy and effort when I have the least of either to spare. But the alternative is too grim to consider.
I don’t want to walk the rest of my years carrying more heartache than that of child loss-which is heavier than I could ever have imagined.
I choose to shed the extra pounds of emotional baggage I can leave by the roadside.
I won’t hide my heart.