I’m the type of person who doesn’t deal with their emotions. I call it the bottle effect, I push down my feelings but they're still there bubbling away like a can of soda viciously shook by a rambunctious four-year-old. The problem with this is when I open up my can of problems or get dropped I explode and all my problems big and small come fizzing out with words as vile as seltzer and tears of sticky sweet acid that stain my face as they fall.I’ve never wanted to be the girl sobbing over a broken nail in Macy’s because “ My boyf-f-friend j-j-just left me and-and these nails cost $20 and my c-c-car broke down”. So I learned to be numb, keep my bucket of emotions just full enough so it wouldn’t spill. But one day there was an unexpected drop that made me spill-over and explode.
I was past the age where puppy dog eyes could buy you forgiveness, but before the age where messing up in the first place could get you grounded. It was an overcast day, where the rows of windows let in as much light as a piece of paper over a flashlight.I was in the main hallway right between my science classroom, and homeroom/history/religion classroom. My whole grade, of 13 kids mind you, was lining up to walk across the street and eat lunch as we did every day, in the basement of our school’s church. I can’t remember why I started crying that day. My mom thinks it was the time a boy named Josh who made fun of me just about every time I opened my mouth was being picked on and being the good little Christian girl I was, I stood up for him. Sadly, less than a minute later he was making fun of me again. But then again it may have been the time that I knew with every fiber of my being that I was right about something and my science teacher, Sister Philomena, told me I was wrong and shouldn’t talk back to a teacher. Personally, I think it was the last one, but as I have a horrible memory the world may never know.
Whatever triggered the spill wasn’t that important because it was never the real problem. I was a big Jumbalaya of emotions. I was overflowing with cajun flavored stress and anxiety, and though I tried to push down my problems with a heavy duty lid hoping that it would contain the mess, as I stood in line in that hall that thick red mixture of emotion flavored jambalaya began to bubble up. I felt as if I had just taken red food dye,one of my few allergies. I felt out of control. I began to breathe short breaths that I would hold in my lungs never to be released. I felt my eyes becoming blurry from uninvited tears. I felt my neck being strangled by the invisible hands of fate, urging me, commanding me to break down. I followed blindly allowing myself to fall deeper and deeper into the never ending well of my emotions. I didn't realize how deep I truly was until I felt the eyes of my classmates on me like thirteen judges watching me as if I were a ballerina tripping on my own pointe shoe laces. Laces that were never supposed to be there. Laces that the forgetful world forgot to cut off before they shoved me onto the stage for hungry eyes to devour my every flaw. Any confidence my classmates thought I had was slowly disintegrating.
My fourth-grade teacher Mrs.Stenson was looking at me as if I was a puppy with two legs missing on it's left side who could never walk again.
“I'm fine” I let out in a screech that made it sound less like I needed a Kleenex and a hug, and more like I needed an exorcism.
“Oh, honey!” My teacher said as she floated over arms spread, ready to embrace me in a hug, that rather than comfort me, would make me feel weak.
“What happened ?” Asked Nick, a boy who was normally quiet in class unless there was a joke to be made.
“Nothing just leave her alone, ok?! Sometimes us girls just need to cry” My teacher snapped back dismissing Nick's genuine concern as boyish ignorance.
I was outraged at how her comment made it sound like since I was a girl I needed to cry every couple of days so I wouldn't break down like a car left without repair for too long. But I was too emotional, and her hug was too comforting. So I sank further into the emotional void pouring it out on my teacher argyle covered shoulder.
I know now that what she said wasn't that far from the truth I am like a car. If I don't get regular check-ins I breakdown on the side of the road and you're left with nothing but a low battery and a half-eaten tub of ice cream molding away in the cup holder. This experience humbled me, it let me know that sometimes you need to cry it out. Now I acknowledge my problems even when I don't know how to deal with them. I acknowledge that I get panic attacks when I get to worked up over something. I acknowledge that I make rash decisions when I'm depressed or irritated. I've learned this year more than ever that the only way for me to be able to solve my problems is to admit that they're there and embrace it. Just because I will always be a bottle of soda doesn't mean I will always be shook, doesn't mean I will always explode and doesn't mean I am anything less than normal because water in a Sprite can would just taste weird.