There's this new thing I like to do. It's called crying on planes.
I am not what you'd describe as a crier or an emotional person. For whatever reason, I'm the type to fight it. To suppress it. To mask it with a joke.
But lately, life has taken its toll and the tears have found their way to the surface despite my efforts to wrestle them back down. I told a friend, "I know it's okay to cry" and she responded, "Do you really believe that? Or is that something you feel like you're supposed to say?"
That's a good friend, right?
I've been traveling a lot lately, which has meant lots of packing, unpacking, and packing again. If I'm honest, it means a lot of packing, getting back home, leaving the suitcase on the floor until the next trip, and then shuffling through clothes that may or may not be dirty to re-pack for the next trip. I'm delightful, I tell ya.
Here's what I've realized, though: Every time I've packed up my clothes, I've packed up my emotions too. I've taken the events of the day - the hard conversations, the fear of the unknown, the constant change and balled them up to wait on me until I return. I've told them where to go and shuffled things around, so I can navigate my way around the emotion on my own terms.
It doesn't work like that, though, does it?
At the end of this week, I boarded a plane to return back to Nashville. I was so proud of myself for keeping my emotions in check and not allowing them to effect my work. I buckled my seatbelt with the attitude of "You go, girl. You pulled it together." Right about that moment, the plane took off and the tears began to flow. I knew immediately that my emotions were waiting for me right where I left them and I was flying right back into their arms.
What would it look like if I allowed vulnerability to lead the way instead of building a wall to cover the stuff I don't want people to see? What's the worst that happens? People see I'm broken? Guess what, self? We are all broken. That was established a long time ago.
Last night, I texted a friend to tell her I'd meet her at church. I warned her that I knew I couldn't make it through the service without crying.
Her response? "I'm not afraid of your feelings."
What if we weren't scared of being real with the people around us? We cry on planes? Big deal. It's my new thing. If the flight attendants start passing out tissues with every drink they offer, you'll know it was me. Happy to help.