"These Are the Days I've Been Waiting For." A Short Story

A short story.

“These are the days I’ve been waiting for,” she said to herself, looking at half of her face in the bathroom mirror as the other half leaned against the door frame.

Nevermind that she has no idea what that really means. It was a statement of sentiment more than of fact, because facts have no place in a moment like that. A moment when time doesn’t cease but just ceases to matter. Arbitrary. Like whatever her neighbor is doing upstairs or whoever is passing on the sidewalk outside of her view — it simply isn’t relevant to where she is right then.

It’s the kind of moment she doesn’t even want to let build up inside her chest because what goes up… can’t stay there… so she leaves the room to gather dishes from the dining table and put them in the sink, and to shut off the kitchen lights, and the dining room/living room light and the hall light. And she changes into warm, soft clothes just right for sleep, leaving laundry on the floor half-kicked beneath the bed and plugs her iPhone in and reaches for the last small light on the bedside table — pausing —

She still wants that warm feeling, though… even though she knows from time and time again of past experience, it always trails away and into other days with a much different face looking back at her in the bathroom mirror.

But that’s the thing. When the thick, cold, low day comes — or the angry, bright, heavy day falls — or the bitter, dark, tangled day looms — she’ll need this one — this moment — the memory of the full, warm glow that comes from somewhere she doesn’t even know the name of. That sweeps over from the inside. That winds out widely in every direction. It won’t destroy her hardships altogether… but it’ll take the edge off, remind her there is another side — that she knows, too.

So she smiles, lets it grow inside her, lets it well and stir and simmer and settle within her…

She rubs her eyes, tired. The moment passed.

The light goes out.

And within the hour, she falls asleep.


Let's Talk About Crying and Maybe Cry a Little After

Photo by  Luis Galvez  on  Unsplash

Photo by Luis Galvez on Unsplash

Crying. It’s hard for me to talk about. Everything I start to say about it, I rethink and delete. I’m torn when it comes to crying. I know that I do. I feel like it’s healthy. But I also hate it. All at once, when I feel the urge coming on, I want to turn it on and push it far away where I don’t have to look at it. Yet sometimes I stand in the mirror and just watch it happen to me, like, Okay, this is where I am.

Sometimes I cry because of how cruel the world is — not even to me, but to others. Sometimes I cry because I feel overwhelmed in my own little world of work, relationships, goals, doubts, desires, and disappointments. Sometimes I cry because I feel alone — even though generally, I really like being alone — I can be happy to have breakfast alone, work at home alone, watch Netflix alone, but still… sometimes something in me clicks, and I feeling lonely instead of content, empowered, or free. And in those moments I can cry.

When I was crying a few days ago, I made this post. I thought for many people, crying might be a challenge to do, or to have people know that we do — like it is for me. And now I know it for sure. I couldn’t believe how many people responded — on Instagram, Facebook, and in conversations. And this isn’t even everything.

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What’s at the root of all this. Why do any of us even cry anyway?

Science doesn’t have as much to say about crying as I’d expected.

I watched a TED-Ed Video about the different kinds of tears we cry. We have basal tears — we don’t even notice ourselves producing these tears — they protect our eyes generally on a day to day basis. We have reflex tears — these are the tears that onions pull out of us, that exist to wash away harmful substances from our eyes or prevent things from getting in. And then we have emotional tears, which science knows the least about. I’ve read that they help rid of us of stress hormones, are maybe a natural form of pain relief, and that socially maybe they exist to engender empathy in others for the individual, or to help us create stronger communal bonds as a whole.

So all I have to lean on really is that little bit of information and then what I see and hear around me. So for what it’s worth, a few more of my thoughts.

The Crying Spectrums

Like so many other things, crying is not one-size-fits-all. The way we cry transcends age, gender, culture, location, sexuality, all kinds of things — I think it even changes for individuals depending on what they’re going through at a certain point in life.

In my head, I imagine three spectrums.

#1 The Expectations of Crying Spectrum
This is where we feel we should fall on the topic of crying based on what messages we received as we’ve grown up. It ranges from “crying is weak, don’t cry” to “crying is natural, do it as much as you need to.”

#2 The How We Cry Spectrum
This is the spectrum where we personally identify our own crying threshold/behavior. It ranges from “I rarely/never cry” to “I often/can easily cry” or maybe “only intense things like death make me cry” to “something small like missing the bus can make me cry.”

#3 The Kinds of Crying Spectrum
This is the spectrum of kinds of crying we do in our life. It ranges from “shed a tear” to “big sobs that give us a headache after.”

So rather than looking for black and white answers, maybe a healthy approach to understanding crying is simply self-awareness and contextual assessment.

What’s going on? What can you do? Who can you talk to and/or invite in to support you?

With all that said…

Cheyenne’s Entirely Subjective, Unscientific Conclusions about Crying

If you understand your need and desire to cry when you’re sad, overwhelmed, or pained — and you feel it’s restorative impact — then cry with no shame. Push aside the baseless criticisms of “crybaby” or “over-sensitivity.” They’re lies.

If you have found that crying gets in the way of your well-being, your ability to function, or to form healthy relationships — that crying itself is overwhelming you — reach out. Find family, friends, or professionals who can help you identify the issue within your emotional expression so you can move forward in joy, too.

If you don’t like to cry, but you feel you need to, explore that — take that journey. Let no internalized negativity you feel toward crying stop you because — your strength is not defined by tears or lack thereof. Not even close.

If you don’t like to cry, and you have no interest in crying, what do you naturally and healthily do to release stress and pain from your body and mind, so it doesn’t bottle up and hurt you in other ways? Explore that — with friends and family and professionals if you need to.

And where ever you fall on any of these spectrums, don’t let anyone or anything make you feel less than normal. There isn’t a normal. There’s just humans. Just us.

Here for each other.


Want to talk more? Have more thoughts about crying? Hit me up.


Don't Forget to Do the Things That Feel like Breathing

Photo by  Steve Johnson  on  Unsplash

Lately I’ve been forgetting to do the things that feel like breathing. Namely, writing and creating. Not for the blog. Not for a client. Not to sell. Just for me.

Recently, as I wandered through the “Writing” folder on my computer nostalgically, I found some screenshots from this little booklet I put together years ago. And I felt such a yearning to create that space for myself again.

We aren’t built to continuously push ourselves doing things that drain our energy. Even if we

mostly like most of the things we’re doing. There’s a difference between doing something as a means to and end and just doing something because it pours out of us.

And we are meant for that, too. To do things that just... pour out of us. What is like that for you? How can you do it more?

 
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SEE THE WHOLE BOOKLET HERE:

 

Where My Mind Goes When I Try to Be Quiet

Photo by  Daniel Spase  on  Unsplash

Photo by Daniel Spase on Unsplash

Making space for quietness is something I’m working on. It’s on the long list of things I’ve been working on, especially since becoming self-employed. I’m so attached to my computer and my phone and my camera, it’s all lights and action so much of my day. That reality of my business life has real implications on my personal life. I have so many phone calls and meetings some days my social quota fills way past full and I feel like I could just hide under a rock. But I know, inevitably, underneath that rock, after about 20 seconds of quiet, this is what would start to happen in my head…

“Is that my hip making that clicking noise?” Lately I’ve noticed that if I move my leg in certain ways there’s a fun little clicking noise and feeling in my hip. I should probably see a chiropractor.

“I haven’t posted an Instagram story in a minute.” Often occurs right before I post a story on Instagram.

“I haven’t talked to [name here] in a while. I should text them.” Followed immediately by another thought or a phone call or an email ding or something that distracts me until I think about it again in another day/week/month.

“What if the colors I see aren’t the colors everyone else sees?” Not like what if my blue is your green but more like what if our sense of the hues of blue are just a little different. Or what if someone sees a whole other color I can’t see. That’d be wild. I’d want to see that color, too.

"Have I eaten yet?” My aunts have told me that when we travel together, I want to stop to eat too much. But when I’m home working it’s not unusual for me to accidentally miss a meal because I was on a roll with whatever I was doing and didn’t realize it until I had a few moments of quiet.

"Why is it so cold in here?" It's always cold to me, pretty wherever I am. If I don't have a jacket somewhere within reach I've played myself.

“Did I put deodorant on?” Like every other day. Also some natural deodorants really suck. I've had a good experience with Schmidts though.

“You know I think there might be something to that Universal Basic Income thing.” Have you heard about Universal Basic Income? Look it up. I’ve listened to a couple podcasts on it, it’s fascinating. The concept is that everyone in the whole country would get $1000 a month to use however they wanted, so everyone has at least enough to cover basics. You’d start to get it once you turn 18, I guess, and then just keep getting it no matter what. The only thing I wonder though is if the cost of everything in the country would just rise so that the $1000 a month becomes not enough to even get your basics… hm…

“Chocolate?” Like every other hour. I’m working on it. (I don't really eat chocolate every other hour... for real though.)

“I wonder what my mom is doing. I’m gonna call her.” I talk to my mom pretty much daily. I talked to her twice today, in fact. She’s pretty amazing.

"I just had an idea!" If I'm trying to maintain quietness, that's the moment an idea will strike. Not when I sit down to think of an idea. When I sit down to not think at all. My phone is like that too. It rings as soon as I put it down sometimes.


What are some of the things you think when you're trying to just become one with your breath and the world and the loveliness of quiet?


UnGentrification: An Actually Simple Thought for My Allies

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In the last 48 hours in Richmond, VA, a man you may have never heard of before, but whose investments will impact the everyday lives of whole communities, played himself in a major way.

He attacked one of the most authentically community-minded folks in our area, and in doing so revealed that he does not know or care about the community he himself claims to speak in the interest of.

I’m not here to drag that man. It’s not worth my time. He’s one of many doing similar work not only in Richmond, VA but in cities like it across the United States.

What I’m here to do is say this:

If it is possible to strategically use the purchasing of property to increase one’s financial gain, then it is possible to strategically use the purchasing of property to increase an existing community’s present wellbeing and future sustainability.

So here’s a radical thought. Actually, no. It's a simple thought.

What if folks (white and otherwise) with the means to do so, starting purchasing property in under-resourced neighborhoods — not to flip those properties — but to do something with them that would have current and future positive impacts on the neighbors surrounding?

What if this was a movement? What would it be called? What would it look like? What could it do? What could it grow?

I ask this genuinely. I don’t know what this would look like. But I’d like to.

I ask this knowing that there’s a couple in my neighborhood who has already done this. They have strategically bought property in order to prevent developers from purchasing those properties.   

I ask this thinking, This shouldn’t even be close to a radical thought.

And we can do this.

#UnGentrification #PeopleOverProfit


If you want to play your part in undermining development that does not care about the community, here's an article with some great ideas. Thanks to @studentsofhistory for sharing with me on Insta.