Friday, 29 October 2010

Messy emotion

One of my very clear memories from childhood is of a time when we moved house. Nothing unusual in that - we moved house regularly due to my father's job, and by the age of 10 I was attending my sixth school.

On this particular move, when I started at my new school I felt that I had a clean slate, and was anxious to keep it that way. Conscious that I was growing up and had responsibilities, I was especially keen that none of my new friends should ever see me cry.

It must have been about three weeks into my time at the new school that I went to get something from under a raised counter top, stood up too early and bashed my head very hard against the corner of the counter. It really really hurt, and instantly tears came into my eyes.

The reason this incident stuck in my memory is that I can still remember how hard I cried, and how miserable I felt for days afterwards. Not because of the pain in my head, but out of frustration, humiliation and sheer rage at myself for having exhibited such a sign of weakness in front of everyone.

This happened shortly after my sixth birthday.

I soon became adept at keeping myself under control, and by the time I went to boarding school at the age of 10, I found it difficult to cry even if I wanted to.

I've spent many years since then keeping my emotions well buttoned up. If something was too painful to talk about without getting visibly upset, then I would avoid talking about it. If it was too painful even to think about without crying, I would push it to the back of the mind and do my best to avoid thinking about it. I've cried more in the last year than I have in the whole of my adult life, and there's a big part of me that despises the weak, blubbering mess that infertility is turning me into.

What's happening in my coaching sessions is the exact opposite of my usual way of dealing with difficult things. I tell my coach about something that has happened, and she asks me questions about how I dealt with it and how it made me feel, and she keeps asking questions beyond the point where I would back off from the subject as being too uncomfortable to deal with. So in two of the three sessions I've had with her, I've cried. And I still hate doing it in front of other people, but these are issues which need to be dealt with, so I sit there displaying all that embarrassing, uncomfortable, ugly emotion and work with her to try to work out how I can make things better.

But I do sometimes wonder with what sort of disgust my six-year-old self would have viewed the incontinently emoting adult I seem to have become.


  1. ((((((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))

    Perhaps that six year old you would, in a way, be grateful to see a grown-up expressing emotion, because it meant that she could, too?? Sending you so much love XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  2. You make me proud! This type of constructive grief can only make you stronger! And I think your six-year-old self needs a big long hug and permission to be a child.