Public outburst? No thanks.

“I’m Irish, and Irish people don’t tell you a thing; Irish people keep it so bottled up. The plan with Irish people is ‘I’ll keep all my emotions right here, and then one day I’ll die.'” – John Mulaney

The first time I watched Mulaney’s newest routine, I laughed when I heard this because I’m 25% Irish and because he’s 100% correct. It doesn’t make sense why people waste so much effort trying to conceal their emotions when it feels so rejuvenating to release them. After all, bottling up emotions for an extended period of time is the equivalent of having to wait to pee. When you finally have the opportunity to visit the restroom, you literally sprint to relieve your bladder. In turn, when you finally give yourself the opportunity to release the emotions you’ve buried, you’ll find that much more than you expected comes out: usually in the form of an outburst.

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It would be easy to say that burying emotions is the best method for appearing strong and in control, but emotions aren’t meant to be controlled. Emotions are the body’s form of verbal and nonverbal communication to others. Whether you’re crying, laughing or frowning – these signs help people easily diagnose what’s going on ‘under your hood.’ But when you bottle up and bury all of your emotions then there’s no way for anyone to know that you’re in trouble, need help and want someone to talk to. If processing your emotions is the only cure for what you’re feeling, but you refuse to allow your body to partake then it’s only a matter of time before you experience an emotional outburst.

Over the years I have become better at sharing, but there are still moments when I try to conceal all the hurt, all the anguish and all the pain with a fake smile. And let me tell you, it’s so exhausting to try to make it through a day or week with a false expression and a heart ready to burst. Last night, instead of allowing myself to verbally process, I waited too long and experienced a spontaneous outburst… in public. If you’ve ever cried in public, it’s near the top of the embarrassment chart. When you cry, you’re at your most vulnerable. Needless to say I did my best to ensure that very few people witnessed my snot-infested mess. Luckily this unplanned outburst happened during my weekly bible study and the woman seated next to me who saw everything was a very good listener.

So even though I have two strikes against me: being 25% Irish and a woman. I can heed John Mulaney’s words and try to process my emotions rather than push them down in hopes that they’ll become a ticking time bomb waiting to explode in the form of an uncontrolled, unwanted spontaneous outburst.

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