Iguana Cry

It is well documented on these pages that I am not a crier.  In fact, I cry with such infrequency that when I do, it is rather epic.  Envision a spigot being thrown to full throttle and all the tears that a normal person may have shed over the past year gushing out in the form of heaves, gulps and near convulsions.  Then double it.  It is that ugly.  It also results in a red nose, a shiny forehead and swollen, painful iguana orbs.* It is not for the faint of heart.

Actual picture of my actual eye.  Okay, not really, but might just as well be.

Actual picture of my actual eye. Okay, not really, but might just as well be.

Last night I had one such episode.  A series of annoying, upsetting, irritating, frustrating and, yes, infuriating events (none nearly as epic as the crying) sent me reeling.  It all snuck up on me (as it always does, dammit) and knocked me on my ass.  At one point, about an hour into it**, I dragged myself to  the bathroom to throw water on my face and somehow wound up crouched on the floor which, it was pointed out to me***,  was a position which Amy Weinhouse  had likely assumed more than once: knees pulled to my chest, head leaning (pathetically) against the vanity, mascara smeared (pathetically)  in streaks down my face, hair tangled (that was more because I hadn’t done anything with it in the morning and it would have looked that awful under any circumstances, yet somehow the added ugliness made it worse), nose red, skin shiny.

I was profoundly sad.  My brain and heart were not only on overload, they ached.  All I wanted to do was to crawl under the sink, or in the tub, or into bed and, well, suck my thumb.  And rock back and forth.  A glass of wine wouldn’t have hurt, either.  There were so many thoughts, feelings, fears and concerns coursing through my mind, fighting to get out that I almost forgot, midway through it all, what had set me off.  (Almost.)

In the throes of my psychotic episode I did have two distinct moments of clarity: 1.) I was relieved that I didn’t have to work in the morning because I knew, from past such episodes, that I was going to be a hot, iguana-eyed mess in the morning and, 2.) I knew, deep down in the bowels of my heaving tears, that I was going to be okay and I recognized that I am never alone in this life.

Once I finally got myself together and had the good sense to ice my eyes (in vain…they were puffed not-quite-closed this morning) (see iguana comment) and have a glass of wine, I crawled into bed and did something I have not done in weeks.  I slept all night.  I woke up ugly, but with eight uninterrupted hours of sleep under my belt.

Clearly it all had to get out.   The miles-long walks and hours-long workouts (okay, maybe not hours long, but…) hadn’t purged me of the angst.  It had escaped me that it was imperative that I disinfect my body of the impressive emotional poisons that had accumulated and bloated my psyche.  I did not plan it nor, while it was happening, did I particularly enjoy it.  I also did not, again, while it was happening, “appreciate” it (that is something my therapist and I have discussed: appreciating something horrid for what it will teach you and where it will get you.  Yeah, I rolled my eyes at it when she first said it, too, but it has its merits.) In hindsight, however, I am glad that it happened.

I awoke this morning well-rested.  Yeah, my eyes were swollen to the point that when I applied mascara (which I would never go without) it smeared all over my eyelids, mostly because they were ballooning out as though I had been pumped up intravenously with soy sauce.  And, yeah, my pallor was indicative of an ailing iguana.  My hair, meanwhile, was a snarled, knotted mess thanks to my coma-like siesta.  But (and this is a big but) my head was clear.

I have a new perspective.  I have re-established a grip on things and am emoting in a more productive way.  Last night I thought (repeatedly) that I am a fraud and the “you can do this” mantra I have been spouting was a load of crap.    Today I am back on my own bandwagon and feeling (almost) in control.  I am not sure if I can credit “Bawl-a-Palooza 2013”, the resulting sleep or a combination of the two, but , either way, I am back in business.  Until next time.

*I always thought that my eyes did this because they are so light.  There is, apparently, and according to my doctor who I saw this morning for an unrelated issue, no scientific evidence of that.

**Total time: 3.5 hours.  I told you it was epic.

***By RRL who, along with MLS, came to my rescue when I sent out an SOS text. BTS and DTL hand-held from afar.  xoxo to them all.  Be grateful you weren’t a textee this time.

9 thoughts on “Iguana Cry

  1. :-((((( Glad you are feeling better and always sad to hear when you are sad. It sounds like a cliché but you ARE strong enough to get through anything life throws at you. If the devil came up get me I would want YOU next to me to kick his ass (that’s how tough I think you are). xoxo

  2. After I read this, I said to Patrick “Julie wrote about crying” (a subject I wrote about my last blog) to which he replied “which Julie?” I absentmindedly answered “blog Julie.”

    This represents a milestone. You are no longer defined as “Robbie’s sister”, you are now “blog Julie”

    I bet I’m not alone in calling you this. Xxxx, E

  3. In years past, my “Bawl-a-Paloozas” usually consisted of getting in the car, driving aimlessly while emitting the occasional primal scream, and sobbing so much that I think I sucked up most of the oxygen in the car. Once I actually stopped and bought a pack of cigs (Note: It had been ten years since my last purchase.) and sat in the parking lot of a Giant grocery store at midnight, smoking and trying not to throw up. Oh yeah, I truly, truly can empathize. The good news is, it’s been a very long time since the Drive-a-Thons, and you are absolutely right- it always does get better. Even when we think that we cannot endure one more minute of that soul-sucking pain, we do. Life re-asserts itself and we get out of bed with our iguana-eyes (perfect description!) and hug our children and do our everyday things and breathe. I know that your strength and honesty and humor have helped so many people, whether they are parenting a transgender child or not. Before finding your blog, I really knew of no one who could relate to my experiences and who could put them into words so much better than I ever could. I am so sorry that you had to experience that depth of pain, but I thank you for sharing it with us. Being a “tower of strength” is a really, really hard job. The occasional crack in the brick comes with the territory.

  4. There is a reason that people have the capacity to cry. Sometimes they just have to. Sometimes things build up, and it’s like a vat of boiling water with the lid on…. it steams up and fills up and eventually the lid blows. So we cry, to let the steam out. And when we are done, we feel better, and we pick ourselves up and do it all again another day. It’s part of being human and there is no weakness involved. Instead of berating yourself, think about how lucky you are that you have the capacity to purge yourself of those toxic feelings, and that you have people you can call or text who love you and will come running to hold your hand, wipe your nose, and hug you until you cry it all out. I know of whence I speak, my friend. So just consider it part of your therapy, and see it as a positive thing. Big hugs to you.

  5. I’m glad a) you got some sleep, and b) you got rid of whatever was choking you.

    I, for one, know when I’m about to burst and force myself to watch a tear-jerker movie, read a sad book or listen to sad songs. The result: gushing waterworks (albeit not as much as what you’ve described, but still).

    Keeping it in only makes it worse. A good cry every now and then is necessary in order to not lose it entirely.

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