You “Should” be Over This Already
By Z Zoccolante
This weekend I went to a Kundalini Yoga class with a friend. The room is dim as we walk in a few seconds late and pull our mats to the empty space in the room. We lie down as the teacher’s soothing voice drifts into my consciousness like a lullaby.
It takes me only a few minutes before the tears start, and they don’t stop until they turn the lights up again. It’s not the sobbing, awful, moaning cry like something is dying inside, but rather the kind where the tears keep sliding silently down my face without consent, without even fully knowing why they keep coming, like someone turned on a faucet and there’s a steady pool with gravity.
It reminds me of the peace in church, when they dim the lights after a few upbeat hallelujah songs and transition to the slow worship music. I used to hate going to church as a kid, and teen, because this music always, without fail, made me want to cry. I did not want to cry.
For a few solid years of my life, I was mostly numb and didn’t cry at all. I remember thinking how much I’d like to, how it would probably release something in me that needed it. But I could not.
He speaks in this song like honey voice for most of the class and as we move into slow positions and fire breathe at our own pace in and out. I regret not having tissues. I can only do the fire breath through my mouth because I can’t breathe through my nose.
I am in the room, my feet on the floor, but I’m floating through memories of a connection I had recently that felt like companionship. How I’d sit at a café after studying and being overwhelmed and how I was so happy to message this person and get a message right back. That feeling of being worlds apart yet connected. That feeling of excitement, of potential, of happy.
And the words echo in my head, “It’s safe to need people.” And my body slumps down because this wasn’t true for years. I used to think I was better off alone. And when I finally learned to stay, my partner left me. And when I finally learned to be vulnerable with people, to wanting connection, I’ve had someone back away.
I don’t even know why I’m crying. There’s this person I like that there will be no future with. There’s the dream of seeing my ex-husband the other night with the other, and the heart ripping grief I woke up with as though it happened yesterday and not 3 years ago. I never even saw their faces in my dream but my body, heart, and soul remember the excruciating pain.
Because time isn’t linear. That’s how trauma works. The memory isn’t processed properly because the system’s stress level is too high.
After class I chat with my friend.
She tells me that there is this self-judgement
about how we should just be over something already.
Like when a family member dies, or we get a divorce, or something is ripped from our lives in that terrifying bubble of a nightmare. In those moments, we’re just surviving it. Although it’s awful, we’re in it.
But it’s the after that kills. It’s the first year – the anniversary, all the first Holiday’s without them, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Birthdays. We think it should be over that first year, but often it’s not. Memories can filter in unexpected. We meet people that remind us of how it presses like a bruise to open to someone new.
It’s the after because it sinks in that you are going to be living the rest of your life without them when you’ve been on a path of seeing your life with them for so long.
And the same is true, even if you’ve met someone new – friendship, romance. Our brains naturally plot time, throwing it like a fishing line into the future. And if it’s cut, it hurts.
When we think about our divorce, or our father or sister that died, the person we really like who doesn’t want a future with us, it stings because we’ve cast the line.
We always cast the line.
Time isn’t linear. We think it is because we experience it as such.
But time is a wave.
Sometimes we’re over it, sometimes we’re under it.
It’s not kind to judge ourselves for not being “over something already”.
There is no “should”.
We just do the best that we can. We deal with the sadness when it comes in, when we are under the wave. We enjoy the sun when we’re on top. We get to be grateful no matter where the wave is.
Wherever you are it’s ok. If you’re in grief, it’s ok. If you’re in joy, it’s ok. If you’re rebuilding your life, it’s ok. If today you spent time crying, it’s ok. If you are asking parts of your heart to return to you, it’s ok.
Wherever you are, it’s ok.
You are wonderful, amazing. You are LOVED. You are doing your best. You’re allowed to be where you are. Don’t let anyone tell you that you “should” be somewhere else by now.
If you do find yourself stuck here’s something I’ve found helpful:
- See a Therapist: How to Find a Therapist You Love
- Call a friend
- Switch your vibration: watch a funny movie, move your body, play with your pet, talk to a kid, watch a sunset, dance to music, etc.
- Volunteer to help others, or animals