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  • Writer's pictureJacob Springfield

I Want To Cry, But I Can't - Tales From the Emotionally Inept

Hello brothers and sisters. Long time no see. Anyone who has ever attempted to follow my previous blogging efforts will be all too familiar with my long periods of creative ghosting that come before the inevitable forsaking of the entire project. To my credit, since the last time I posted my entire life has been completely uprooted and totally transplanted. While staying at my parent’s house for quarantine I accepted a new job in the mountains of North Carolina. It took a total of five days from hitting “Submit” on Indeed to being the newest art consultant at a gallery in Downtown Asheville. This in turn triggered an emotionally and physically exhausting two weeks of moving my entire life from Florida to Carolina – which resulted in a mistrust of movers, added 2,000 miles to my car, and as you can imagine did wonders to my already unstable psyche. But here we are, and you’ll forgive me a slight hiatus from blogging.

Many of the major aspects of this move can and will soon be subjects of full posts, from leaving behind the life I’ve known for so long to being the new kid on a block on lockdown from COVID. But tonight, as I type this first post in two months (yikes), I am going to focus on what I am I feeling right now, in this exact moment, for that is the self-aggrandizing beauty of the blogging format.

Have you ever just wanted to cry? Not a delicate little tear streaming down your cheek, but full-on, break down, snot running, ugly sob cry? Instead, you find yourself dry-eyed – staring blankly at your own sad-ass reflection in the mirror listening to Stevie Nicks while some nostalgic TV show you’ve seen approximately 8 million times plays in the background to keep you from completely disassociating from reality?

Maybe not all of you are listening to the Witch Queen of Folk and watching The Wild Thornberries, but I refuse to believe I’m the only person to ever experience an emotional lag.

As fun and exciting as starting a new adventure and (true to blog title) coming home again can be, both the times we find ourselves in and the general stresses of the move at times feel crippling. My job requires me to work downtown though I am terrified of COVID, but then gives me the false sense that things are fine and I find myself not distancing in ways I should and feeling guilty about it. Until I officially move into my apartment at the end of August, I drive an hour to and from work, which when you don’t leave work until 9:00pm is a whole endeavor in and of itself. Living so far away has made me feel exceptionally isolated and trying to distance through the pandemic is not super conducive to making new friends. While I like my new job fine, I’ve found I need to rework entire aspects of my personality to find success in it – and I find myself constantly battling my already intense anxiety and telling myself I don’t completely suck and everyone doesn’t hate me. There are times I feel useless to affect change in the world around me, a world currently on the cusp (hopefully) of great change in times of upheaval.

All of this, coupled with a feeling of romantic forlornness and missing the amazing people that filled my days in Orlando – has led to more than one night like the one described above. If I could just get a could cry in edgewise, just five minutes to unbottle all the sadness and frustration and loneliness I feel bottled up inside and let it pour out of me, then I might be able to start fresh. Instead, I find myself deadpan – not just not crying but sitting blankly in front of a screen numbly staring ahead.

You may find this hard to believe - but I am not a psychiatrist. Also, with all the stuff on my plate finding a therapist has not been at the top of my to-do list, but by god can I google. What I’ve found is that googling “I want to cry but can’t” will yield the same type of results as “I have a dry spot on my elbow.” While Mother Internet will give you very possible and logical results, she will also give you the most far out possibilities imaginable. For example, in researching the dry spot on your elbow, Google will suggest everything from dehydration (probable) to incurable and rare epidermal cancer (less likely). So, when you look up “why can’t I cry,” it ranges from keratoconjunctivitis sicca to melancholia depression. While I have struggled with depression in the past, I hardly think I’m experiencing is similar to what Kiersten Dunst did in the pre-apocalyptic psychological thriller. Through all the absurd internet suggestions, however, one thing did standout.

Google suggested that many people who can’t cry are going through a period where they struggle to express their emotions. My best friend and roommate, who didn’t ask to be in this blog so for her sake so we’ll give her a fake name like…let’s say…Mary Greene, asked me one time if she thought I might be emotionally unavailable. I hadn’t thought about this as being a real thing – honestly it seemed a trait consigned to reluctant heroines in rom-coms or broody boys in vampire novels. Then I thought about several different aspects of my interpersonal life, and as I usually do when I do any sort of introspection, cringed. I do tend to be the one at work who chooses to ignore things that cause me stress or make me unhappy, then wonder why I constantly find myself feeling overwhelmed and powerless. I’ll catch myself trying to emote my feelings on others and seek their guidance through various emotional quandaries, then when they try to do the same with me I’ll zone out or only relate it back to my feelings. It’s been three years since my last serious relationship, and in that time I have kept many awesome people at a long arms distance, always finding some reason to justify pushing them away and telling myself they wouldn’t like me anyway so why bother.

All of this to say that maybe Mary and are on to something. We all have various experiences from our past and upbringing that might lead us to bottle up our emotions, whether we know it or not. There is not enough room on the internet to go into all the ways I’m fucked up and sure I repress my feelings, and I am certainly in no position to offer counsel on how others should navigate their own internal discord. The only point I can bring up in this exceptionally unhelpful blog post is that coming home again, while it can be huge stressor in your life, can also be great time to look inward and do some soul searching. These weird and trying times have undoubtedly caused all of us emotional grief in one way or another, but what better opportunity to explore and analyze our coping mechanisms than when everything is team right up at the surface?

Not everything you’re going to find in the recesses of mind and in the way you process feelings are going to be pretty. In fact, some of it is going to be downright unpleasant and you’re going to wonder how it even got there in the first place. At the end of the day, however, if we can dig a little and discover these emotional blockades that hold us down and dam our emotional reservoirs, then maybe we can take the first steps to climbing back up and getting where we need to be. I’ve barely begun to scratch the surface, but I can say that typing this post out and putting these thoughts out there has already helped in its own small way. At any rate I’m not staring in the mirror and I’ve switched up the movie, so I’d say we’re off to a good start. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow I’ll be blubbering like a baby. I’ll be sure to keep y’all posted.

And it is on that cheery note that I end this entry into a public diary none of you asked for. I hope you got something out it, even if it was proof that I know as little as you suspected. If anyone has any experiences or insight they think might be useful I’d love to hear from you. I hope everyone gets out there and gets in touch with their emotions, and if you get the chance treat yourself to a good cry. It’s COVID. You deserve it.


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1 Comment

Enrique Henry
Enrique Henry
Mar 11

Beautifully written. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings, Jacob. I've been feeling the same way lately. It helps to know someone else in the world has felt this way. --- Enrique 😘

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