I have a hard time hiding my emotions – and I’m not the only one. I even found a website called emotions anonymous! If you cry in public, laugh uncontrollably, or talk louder because you’re angry, people will look at you as though you were insane.
Fortunately, I found a solution to that problem: the toilets. Wherever I happen to be, there is usually a toilet not too far away. As a bonus, they are very clean in Switzerland. So let’s say I am in the middle of a group of people in a café and start laughing way over the top for obscure reasons. I can either laugh in my friend’s faces and appear mildly crazy, or excuse myself to the toilet. Second option is easier. I can laugh for a few minutes, put some cold water on my face and go back to normal. Laughing is not so bad anyway. It will make you seem a bit weird but in a fun way.
Crying in public, on the other hand, is more problematic. Especially for a woman: she’ll be classified as super sensitive and overly emotional, the poor thing. However, it is healthy to cry! Crying allows you to release the internal pressure you feel at a given moment. When I feel like crying and I hold back because I don’t want other people to see it, I usually end up feeling depressed and uncomfortable for a few hours. While if I just let go and cry, then I’ll feel better 10 minutes later. So if tears are coming up to my eyes in a public place, I can run to the toilets as well and let a few tears drop in there.
The anger is trickier, as you usually don’t realise that your anger is visible and audible. But if you realise it’s happening, run to the toilet, take a few deep breaths (as I said, toilets in Switzerland are really clean) and you can go back with a straight face.
Intense displays of emotions are not socially well accepted. At the same time, feelings are the center of movies, novels, songs…They’re used in advertising, the medias, politics. We crave emotions as long as they’re not ours or our social group’s. Why should it be that way though? Why should I run to the toilets when I am overwhelmed with an emotion?
I ruined my toilet trick recently. I was with a friend and I felt like crying at some point. What triggered the emotion is not so important. What is important is how I managed it. As my friend was talking, I started feeling a lump in my throat and my eyes were becoming a bit wet. I looked away for a second and took a deep breath. He did not seem to notice. The conversation went on and the tears I was holding back began to burn my eyes. So I got up and went to the toilets.
I felt a bit stupid while crying in there. After all, I was with a good friend, why couldn’t I just let go? I read somewhere that people who hide their emotions all the time have a hard time developing close relationships. In short, sharing emotions may be a significant part of friendship. Most of the times when I cry, my eyes don’t get red, so it’s hard to notice. But that day, maybe because I was tired, I came back to the table all red-eyed. My friend immediately asked: “Have you been crying, Cécile?”. Which triggered more tears. Just because my friend was checking on me, I felt like it was okay for me to cry right at that moment. It still was awkward and annoying, but I felt relieved afterwards and 10 minutes later, I was smiling again. So maybe just letting go wasn’t so terrible after all.
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