I got caught up in a Harry Potter marathon; the eight movies, yes sir. Over the course of a few days, I spent my afternoons in that magical world wondering if Hogwarts would take adults and what kind of wand would pick me. Reasonable thinking, as usual.
When the credits of the last movie began to roll, I began experiencing the binge watcher syndrome: “the loss of all connection to reality that a person experiences after having watched a series of TV shows or Movies for hours or days, which compels them to google for more.”
Hungry cats, laundry to do, work to get done. Reality doesn’t matter; it may even hurt. We need to stay in “that” world.
I know you know. We get so caught up with the characters, the story, the places, that we refuse to leave them. So, we google “Was that a real story? How old is that actor? Is he married?”
I wasn’t going to google if Hogwarts was a real place or “where is Hogwarts”, because we all know it’s only visible to magicians and mystical monsters. So! I wanted to discover how J.K. wrote the books; learn her process; do the same! But I was so tired that just the thought of stretching my arm to my grab my iPad was exhausting.
The thing is… My dad just had had heart surgery, and let’s just say that keeping my shit together drained every ounce of dopamine from my hyper brain.
But! Netflix had begun to release a placebo for the binge watcher syndrome: “The making of.” And for the Harry Potter experience, it had something even better: the reunion of the cast after twenty years.
God bless Netflix.
“They are so big! Gosh, I’m older too… Aww, I remember that!” I watched the first scenes of that documentary feeling as if I had been following the actors and the movies forever, since day one.
I never read a book, and I watched the films in less than a week.🤫
At some point, they showed how they had shot the last scene; that last moment they had shared as a cast, as a family, after over twenty years. Emma Watson jumped into a mattress with a green screen behind; got up; someone yelled “that’s a wrap!” … She sat down on a chair and burst into tears.
You know that kind of crying that you feel is not going to stop, ever? That’s how she was crying. And it reminded me of my last day in High School…
… Which got me to thinking: do people take time for crying? To process the emotional pain? And by this, I mean, time to let it out, to do nothing, but with the confidence that we’re actually doing something great for ourselves.
My High School experience was … a bittersweet symphony. I attended a private catholic school for girls. The building was beautiful, the love from the teachers was welcoming and comforting.
The friends I made, I’ll cherish them forever. And the few mean girls who’d make me feel I was a weirdo (‘cos I was), I ran into them a few years back and I found out they thought “I” was “Queen B”. Ha!… You never truly know how people perceive you…
Now, attending the classes? “Ugh.” I never wanted to go. I’d get so bored! My parents had to pay to ‘reincorporate’ me due to my absences, every-single-year. However, when the last day arrived, I did not want to leave.
That last day was sort of a day off. We brought white t-shirts and spent a couple of hours decorating them. Then we headed over to the first floor, to the patio surrounded by the balconies and galleries where the classrooms were. And we sang and danced for hours.
I remember being down there, looking up to the younger girls with their elbows on the handrails, envying our final day. Just like my classmates and I had done it the previous four years. And feeling, “I think I am the one who envies you”.
When the day was about to finish, we headed back to the classroom to gather our things.
And then the bell rang…
My classmates yelled all at once in one scream of joy, and I felt that sound as a punch in my chest.
The door was wide opened and I ran towards it as fast as I could. I stood there for a second, looked at the wall to my left; I leaned against it and slid to the floor like water over a table. And as soon as I felt the cold tiles, I burst into tears. Like Emma.
Many came to me and said,
– “What are you doing down there? Come on, let’s leave!”
I believe I couldn’t reply to anyone…
– “Why are you crying? Stop crying.”
I didn’t even look up to answer to those.
Sitting there over the cold tile, I thought, “I will never wake up again for a day like this. I will never finish dressing up in the elevator and run those three blocks. I will never prepare my bag, my binders nor wear this uniform again. I will never see my friends every morning. I will never eat that super cool sandwich from the lunchroom, nor hide in the bathroom when the class has passed the limit of boredom I could endure. For years I had the same ritual, and now… now it’s over.”
That last day in high school was the end of an era. And for what I saw, I was the only one feeling that our lives would never be the same; or maybe I was the only one embracing consciously that feeling.
I needed to mourn that loss and to do it there. In that hallway where a teacher picked me up from a hole of depression once; where I chit-chatted and laughed with my friends on every break. Where I felt sick to my stomach, every time I’d see a teacher coming towards the classroom to take one of those tests for which I had never studied.
I needed to cry my eyes out until having drained the last tear; until I could be ready to say goodbye for good.
And so, I did, for two hours or so. I reflected, reminisced, and cried a little harder. Until eventually a voice within me said, “It’s time to go. This is over. Let it go.” And even though I was still mopping, I got up … and I left.
“Stop crying” Why do people say that?
Do we tell others, “Don’t pee, don’t poop; don’t have an orgasm ‘cos your face looks weird.” No, we don’t. Because those are human necessities, involuntary reactions that our bodies can’t help. Well, crying for whatever loss we may be experiencing, it’s the same.
But most people don’t like it, don’t get it or are more worried about their discomfort. Who likes seeing someone crying hysterically, who seems ‘out of control’?
That’s a problem. In this neurotypical society we live in, it seems that taking time for crying our eyes out is a privileged exception allowed for “big losses”, death. And even when someone dies, there’s always a person saying, “Shush, shush, he is at peace now; he is not suffering anymore.”
Fuck that. I know it. Just let me grieve.
That last day in high school, I was absolutely in control of my feelings, more than all of those who tried to make me stop crying. I was consciously absorbing every single second of the present and feeling them slowly and tenderly slip away, like grains of sand in my hands.
It was such a calming and healing experience…
The other problem is that we look at the clock. We count how many hours, days, or months we’ve been crying or feeling miserable, as if doing so wasn’t normal. As if it wasn’t aligned to the neurotypical rules that try to govern how we perform as humans.
Because “Normal is to be ok. To get up, get a shower, go to work and do it all with a smile,”.
I won’t write the “f” word twice.
Do you count how many hours, days, or months you’ve been feeling “ok”?
Well, some people do it. I do it sometimes… I practice gratitude every morning, but every now and then I do an awful thing to myself. I say, “It’s been quite for a while. Something is going to happen.”
Something will always happen… if you are alive.
All I am saying is, no matter how small or big our loss or pain is, it is ours. Nobody gets a saying but us. Because even though it may seem like others’, it isn’t. It is ours.
So, here is a humble and unsolicited advice for you: turn off the clock when you’re processing your feelings. Let the compass of your soul mark its own time.
Embrace it all for as long as you need to. But do it as if you were navigating the seas with a horizon in sight. Adjust your sails to go faster or slower, even to stay still for a while, but don’t ever stop looking ahead.
And don’t freak out if there’s no wind… Seize it…
You will move again.
As long as you keep looking at that horizon, knowing that you’ll get there because you want to, because you’ve probably been there before and you know that it is real, the wind will blow again.
Honestly, I believe it’s the only way to survive, to fight back the devastating pain that could paralyze us in this life… Unless, of course, you’ve got a wand with a phoenix feather core.