Childhood Luxuries probably start with having someone else doing everything for you. But once you achieve the ability to feed yourself, wipe your own ass and work the remote control yourself, you still have certain luxuries which aren’t often afforded to the adult. We learn as infants, before we have developed a vocabulary, that crying is a physical/vocal plea for help. It doesn’t matter if it comes from having a wet diaper, a dry baby bottle or divorce papers, crying is the first program you install into your brain to cope with life’s issues.
Temper tantrums are not exclusively endemic to children. Some of the biggest temper tantrums I’ve ever seen were by the most ignorant congressional representatives on the house floor, or by the head of marketing at board meetings.
Recess use to be great. 15 minutes every 2 hours to go outside and swing like a jungle creature on the “Monkey bars” (Can I still say that)? It was like physical counseling. In 6th grade I had a girlfriend. We passed notes back and forth in class that usually read: “I like you, do you like me”? “Will you be my girlfriend”? Talk about low maintenance romance. Now you’re expected to “Hook up” and arrange a time when your parents are gone. (How times have changed)
I now firmly believe that what came naturally, and kept us somewhat healthy as children was the ability to cry spontaneously.
One morning I heard my neighbor’s grandchild crying outside of her house. I could see she was trying to hide her tears. At first I felt really bad for her. I mean; how can an adult human with a beating heart not feel emotion for a child crying? Then the analytical/conservative cartoon character in me popped his head in and said: “Ah she’s probably a spoiled little brat that didn’t get the new X-box game or whatever the new “gotta have” material object is”.
Then my higher-self descended on me and said: “What a wonderful thing”. The ability to externalize something you perceive to be wrong or a misdeed. Maybe dealing with the disappointment was in progress. Perhaps she realized that she may never get to meet Justin Bieber. I don’t know.
EXTERNALIZING ANGST AS AN ADULT
I honestly think that as adults, there’s a fine line between physically letting our emotions play out, suppressing them while living in denial, or just having a self-pity party. Once you get to where you can allow yourself to cry, it becomes almost impossible to control “when” and “where” you begin to cry. I was talking to my boss and something was said that opened the lacrimal flood gates. In a choked up voice I said excuse me and I ran to the nearest restroom and locked myself in. If you ever get to this point, be sure and carry a lot of Visine with you.
I don’t think kids have true pity parties. (Separating the tantrum from the crying) To them, the crying is real but it’s often a ploy to get their way. They don’t realize that not getting to see Justin Bieber is not the end of the world. But the hurt is still there.
I think as adults, we suppress a lot of REAL hurt. As men, we suppress 99.99% of the pain as we’re expected to buck up and “Be a man”. We try to deal with it by submerging our life into our work. We justify our displeasure by saying” ‘Things could have been worse”. We secretly self-medicate with Alcohol, Drugs, meaningless sex or Television. It’s ironic how as children a warm baby bottle will soothe the pain, while as adults, a cold 12oz. bottle will do the same thing. (for a while). Suppressing emotional pain is like putting a lid on a chimney. The smoke will find cracks and work its’ way out. They call this being “moody”. Sometimes they call it going postal.
Sometimes a good cry is all we really need.