Friday, July 1, 2011

Cry it Out, and Bring Back the Old Man

Never underestimate the beauty and power of a good cry-out.

Not that I look beautiful when I'm crying stuff out. My husband used to laugh at me when we first got married.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry!" he'd say as he chuckled behind one hand and chafed my back with the other. "But you're so cute!"

Cute...or ugly, buckshot?

Well, it doesn't matter how I look, because while I'm waving my hands around making big emotional pronouncements about my life, while I'm scrunching up my face and popping out tears over the injustice of the universe, while I'm wailing about the fact that I may never "make it", good stuff is happening. I'm getting set to rights, pulled back into line, landing right side up with feet planted on solid ground, and being dragged by my hair from the thick of an alligator-invested swamp.

It's like that Old Man with the push broom. I love that guy. Okay, so you don't know him. Perhaps you do not have a dedicated custodian sweeping the debris and dust from the floor of your brain. But I do. I brought him to life as a way to deal with obsessive, unfriendly, or outright disturbing streams of thought. I call him to mind in moments of distress and watch him come out of the shadows where no doubt he's been dozing. He begins to methodically push-push with his broad broom, a grumbling codger with always the same expression on his face - annoyance. But he does his job until I can see the thoughts, the unwanted burden of sordid information cascading from the edge of my mind, banished and with a good riddance.

I hadn't seen my Old Man in a while before my big cry-out. Perhaps he was vacationing in a sunnier mind where bubbly thoughts bong around like rubber balls that just keep bouncing off each other. Maybe he was taking a long sleep in a hammock behind my eyes or off doing consulting work for some other custodial company. Whatever. Point is, I didn't call him to mind and so I worked and worked with my negative thoughts like a self-destructive sculptor until they were bigger and more foreboding than I ever thought they could be - sprung to life like an evil, illumination-swallowing gargoyle.

Those thoughts were very personal, so perhaps no old man with a broom could have driven them away, anyhow. It required a flood. Thankfully, the mind does cleanse itself if it is not too badly clogged with vicious baggage. Mine was not, thank God. So the dam burst and the water rushed forth.

Never, never underestimate the beauty and power of a good cry-out.

And don't neglect the Old Man.

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