Monday, March 3, 2008

losing it in public

I got upset at a friend last night over nothing. He just provoked me in a joking manner and it somehow released some rotten emotion that had been stewing all night. It sort of amazes me that when you publicly show yourself being affected - and in this case it was merely with a pained look on my face - you feel guilty and embarrassed afterwards, and the people who care pull you aside, tell you to chill out. You gotta take a deep breath, get your facade back in order and face the world.

I wonder what it would be like if we could let down our guard, if we didn't laugh on the outside when we are hurting on the inside, if we weren't insecure about expressing those battered feelings, if we didn't hold them in until they release themselves.

I can't even quite get my head around it - how any interaction I have with another person is really an interaction of my facade with their facade, that I can't really ever get what's in my head to connect with what is in theirs - not with words at least. I never think of it that way in the moment, but in retrospect I always replay scenes keeping in mind what I was thinking and speculating on the other person's thoughts.

When I was living in New York for a while last year, I remember walking down the street one afternoon in a calm neighborhood, and sitting on a stoop, with her head in her hands, was a girl about my age. She was crying, and she didn't appear to be making any attempts to mask it. She just wailed away. I wanted to pick a flower and walk back and hand it to her then disappear. Something stopped me though, made me afraid to do it, so I just pretended not to notice and moved along down the sidewalk.

Had I had acted on that impulse, I wonder if she would have felt better, or if she would have felt embarrassed for balling so obliviously and publicly, or even guilty for swooping up a moment of a stranger's life in her own burdens. Maybe she would be angry with me for not minding my own business. I guess she may have felt a little of all of that, though I wish I had done something now that I think about it. There is certainly nothing wrong what she was doing, but i've grown to expect a stone face from those I pass on the street. Letting it out like that, for everyone to see, is bold in my opinion. I admire those that can express when they are hurt.