I was birthed on October 12, 1976 with a full head of thick black ‘stand – on – end’ hair, irritated by the bright lights and the cold air external to my mother’s womb. I broke free, ready to take on the world with fully formed lungs; preparing for my debut. With a loud cry and probably a swing, meant to crack the doc in the chops for helping with the extraction; I entered this life full of passion and purpose.
When I was 5, my mother ran a day home. The fact that most of the kids were older than me posed no problem. I would position them all in a row and declare, “I am in charge.” No questions asked, they would allow me to militarily check their outer gear before they were able to play in my back yard. In my poorest accurate made up recollection I remember one 8 year old boy who couldn’t tie his shoes to save his life. He simply stood there and let me ‘bunny ear’ his shoes, with the most dynamic precision. To this day, I feel, his partner has purchased Velcro shoes to save time.
I look back with a fondness of how direct and focused I was without inhibition. I didn’t question if I was too emotional or acting too big or exerting too much influence. I just WAS. That age of complete acceptance is a cool time of life. I would wear one blue sock and one white sock because those colors were somewhere in my dress. It made sense to me and people accepted it because I didn’t ‘know’ better. But I did know. Matching socks were for conformists and suckers…
Most children feel and express. This is how they communicate what’s going on in their little minds long before speech becomes readily available. Tantrums, screaming, tugging of clothes, saying one word over and over; louder and louder, silence and turning away, irritation by a variety of tactics, crying, laughing, and cuddles are all methods children use to get adults to become aware of deep emotional needs. True, sometimes it’s out of line… but many times, kids are resorting to the most reactionary method for maximum effectiveness. We grown-ups are so used to controlling our behaviors that we hush, try to push down or silence these moments. As I have analyzed my own cries to be heard, I know that many children are dying to be listened to, to have their feelings heard and to have a sense that someone finally gets them. If this does not happen; the external acts can become more dramatic.
Emotions are not the problem. Emotions are the rich energy tapestry which allows each one of us, including children, to acknowledge that an exorcism of that emotion is needed before it roots itself deeply into our minds and tissues. Sure, timing isn’t always to our liking when a child starts to lose it in public or has a freak out in front of people; but the lessons for us adults are undeniably clear.
We need to allow emotions to release. Not just mentally, but physically as well.
As a grown ass woman, I am aware that I cannot throw a temper tantrum to prove a point, to get my way or to self-express. But I am telling you, that if society allowed it... I would. There is no doubt that external stimulus triggers my mind to remember a hidden feeling and then my body reminds me to deal/release/move forward from: pain, fear, excitement, happiness and extreme love. All emotions need a way out – not the just negative ones. Think about when something really awesome happens how badly you want to do a ‘happy dance.’ Some of us who really don’t completely buy into cultural norms and expectations will get up and move with excitement. This movement releases the planting of that emotion into our physical body, so that we can continue on without extreme fatigue, excessive adrenal pumping or a nervous twitch. You know exactly what I’m talking about; that nervous twitch which starts twitching at the most inappropriate times: talking to a waiter, face to face banking, and having a serious conversation with a friend. Wink wink wink wink – oh good lord what the fuck????!!! And even when I press that little fucker down… it keeps letting me know that I am holding onto some type of shitty shit deep down inside.
Take a cue from your kids, the neighbor brat, or that screaming baby on a plane; next time you hear that annoying cry for attention think, “Now, that’s the way to do it!” However, instead of standing up mid lunch at your favorite restaurant, pushing the table over and screaming at the top of your lungs; have enough conscious thought to know it’s time to do something physical… privately. Go for a run, hit a heavy bag, dance till sweat is dripping down your back, punch a pillow, knit a mean scarf or have sex. There are a list of positive ways to encourage yourself to unwind mentally and physically. The body stores our emotional doo doo, so help your system out by acting childlike; instead of pushing ‘it’ away until you are ‘ready.’ You and I both know that day may never come.
In the spirit of community and self-acceptance… if you see me dancing down the street with a glazed smiley look, wearing my heart on my sleeve and mismatched socks… put down your judgement and come dance with me.