I was only in fifth grade, but I was at a dark point in my life. Every one of my thoughts ended in “Why me?” My grandfather had just died of lung cancer. I was going to move at the end of the school year. I had already moved before and I should be used to it, so why was I crying? I was angry with myself for crying over nothing; after all, I was just moving again. I shouldn’t be crying over Grandpa’s death either because people die all the time. Now, I was not only crying, but I hated myself for doing so.
My insides were a swirling, chaotic mess. I felt rage. But, I also felt sorrow. Who I was began to change. I talked less. I listened less. I felt less and less. I became separated from the world around me. I was on an isolated island surrounded by a vast ocean of tears. I was alone, but only because I was doing this to myself.
But as dark as this time got, it did have its own silver lining. This was when I discovered the truth to stop myself from crying, to diminish the ocean, to reconnect my island with the mainland. It’s not about diminishing the problem as I had done with my grandfather’s death and moving. It’s about accepting that yes, these kinds of things are going to happen and I can’t stop them. Then again, I don’t have to stop feeling altogether. In fact, it’s about waiting to see what Life holds around the next corner, living it up in the good times! But I couldn’t do this if I never stopped wallowing in my own self-pity. I couldn’t do this if I never moved on.
In the end, I did stop crying and I stopped hating myself for doing so. I moved, but I made new friends. I am happy Grandpa was spared from the suffering lung cancer was causing him. Some say it’s not right to bottle up my feelings, but I don’t. I take them inside me where I can dwell on them and examine them until I can then accept them and move on.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.