The Stories I Tell ~ from The Word Cellar

Stories. Anecdotes. A free round of words for everyone!

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Location: Pennsylvania, United States

I love stories. I'm the one at social functions with a dozen new anecdotes. But I worry about hogging the conversation. Sometimes I tell myself that I'll be quiet and let others do the talking. But no matter how hard I try, my stories insist on bursting out! Here I can let my stories (the classics that I tell again and again, as well as new ones that unfold along the way) run free. I'm a professional writer and editor, and sole proprietor of The Word Cellar. I write for a variety of publications and clients on everything from green buildings and nuclear reactors to entrepreneurship and the arts. If you need words written, edited, or enlivened, I can help. Contact me.


In which I fall down and cry like a baby

I'm back from New York City. It was a good trip. An important trip. But I'm not ready to talk about that yet. So for now, here's a story about another trip I took.


I'm standing at the rocky edge of the land, staring out at the cold Atlantic Ocean, and I'm sobbing. I'm crying like a child: loudly, full-throttled, irrationally. I tell my husband that I'm fine, but that I just need to stand here and cry for awhile. He's known me long enough and well enough to understand, so he stands on a boulder somewhere behind me and lets me go.

There is salt everywhere here: in the tears streaming down my face, in the waves crashing on the rocks below me, in the misty air that dampens everything. Salt is a preservative, and right now my salty tears are preserving my sanity. Nothing horrible has happened in this moment. I simply fell down on a slick part of these New England rocks. But my side hurts, my pants and sweater are shellacked with strips of tar, and I broke the camera. The physical pain is bothersome and I know I'll have a big bruise, but that's not why I cry. I wail about the broken camera. Broken on our first day here! And I mourn for my ruined pants and go on and on about how I'd searched for pants like these for 10 years. It's nearly impossible to find the perfect pair of lightweight khaki pants that are perfect for traveling. Nearly impossible!

Mostly I wail about how stupid I was for stepping on that dark patch of sloping rock. I berate myself for being so stupid. So stupid! I say it over and over again, thinking that if I chastise myself enough I'll work through feeling so bad about it all and start to feel better. But that tired tactic never works; I should know that by now.

What works in moments like these is crying like a child. I'm old enough to know that I'm not really crying about the bruise or the busted camera or my soiled clothing or even my poor decision making. Those things are just surface annoyances that release the pressure valve so I can let the real emotions out.

In the end, I don't think too much about what the real emotions were. I cried and then I felt better. We went to the cry cleaner* and my clothes look brand new. My husband fiddled with the camera and it works. In the end, everything was okay.

*Edited to add this note: As Randi points out in the comments, I did write "cry cleaner" instead of "dry cleaner." I would like to say it was intentional, but it was really just an oh-so-appropriate slip, so I think I'll leave it.


add to kirtsy | 8:52 PM


Blogger tj said...

And we love them because they wipe away our tears.

3/08/2009 12:00 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

*Love* this post!

Think we all need to take time out for more intense bouts of crying like this one!

Glad things turned out okay.

(And next time, give yourself permission to get in touch with the 'real' emotions. Acknowledge and then intentionally release them. "Feelings buried alive never die" is the title of a book I own. Experience has shown, for me at least, that they need to be brought into the light in order to be let go for good.)

Peace to you, dear friend...

3/08/2009 12:06 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

oh you and me both sister... good cries are the best catharsis, I think... and then the icing on the teary cake: your clothes and camera are ok too!

3/08/2009 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if this was your intention or not, but the lines about how you wailed about the camera and the khakis actually made me laugh. And not in a mean sadistic sort of way...

3/10/2009 7:36 AM  
Anonymous Randi said...

Too funny! You wrote, "We went to the cry cleaner..." instead of "dry cleaner" but what a perfect phrase for what our tears do for us!

3/18/2009 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Count Sneaky said...

It is our duty as husbands to be there when you cry and comfort you with the usual, clumsy nonsense we come up with. Then we adopt our "tower of strength" mode and fix things. Fixing things is our way of crying. Sometimes,
we go to the bar cleaners.
Count Sneaky

3/27/2009 11:30 AM  

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