This is written for all the bewildered men out there who have had a weepy, sobbing woman on their hands.
One minute she was fun, lively, and capable of solving all sorts of problems. But the next thing you knew she was sad and limp … a real wet dishrag. And for no apparent reason!
Is it her hormones? The phases of the moon? Or is it just one of those eternal mysteries, like the missing sock, that has no easy answer.
Speaking as a woman who finds her way to weepiness often, I believe it can be attributed to the following.
- We get tired of holding the world on our shoulders. Yes, we do feel we must hoist it alone … even with a perfectly competent mate by our side.
- We care too much. About our children, your children, our aging parents, plus friends, colleagues, the homeless guy down the street and the neighbor’s sister’s cat. No one escapes our empathic radar. We just can’t help it.
- We are all heart – and then some. We tend to feel our way through life. So when we come a bit unraveled … well, we fall apart. It’s that simple.
- There isn’t enough time for life + all these feelings. So we slide into emotional overwhelm sometimes. We just can’t help it. That’s when we long to be soothed with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s served in a dark room.
- Someone still has to do the laundry. Whether it is us, a helpful child, our spouse or the nice lady we hired to do it, we still have to think about it. Along with several thousand other things.
So this emotional landscape – just like our purses – represents a crowded no-man’s land packed with accumulated stuff. There is just so much. How we long for someone … anyone! … to take it all away.
And that’s about when we dissolve into tears.
I can still remember my mother, crying into her perfectly prepared plate of dinner when I was a child. It was mystifying then, but now I understand.
It’s not that there aren’t enough hours in a day. There are – and we know it. It’s that we can’t live up to our own unreasonable expectations. We can’t be that perfect mother, wife, sister, neighbor, community member or career woman we long to be.
We know we are love, and so we fear we have disappointed, again and again and again. And yet at the same time, it’s infuriating, this vast blanket of caring. We shake our fist at God: Must we live this way?
Well, yeah. That’s part of the deal, unfortunately.
So the solution is to fall apart, gently and willingly, and allow all that emotion to just come tumbling on through. It will pass. And when it does, we may have this surprising thought: We’re actually doing just fine. And if we need to have a little cry, so be it.
A final word to our spouses, friends and supporters — what is wanted at times like this is warm appreciation, like a soft blanket of comfort. An arm around the shoulders; a consoling word.
Then, together, we can return to the heart of love. For really that is all we are made of. And so you may think of this as a necessary pit stop for refueling.
No shame. No guilt. Just love.