I have never been one to cry. I always saw it as a way of caving into my emotions, a weakness so to say. For years and years, I bottled everything up. But now, in lockdown, I have finally given myself permission, I have finally allowed myself to feel.
Up until now I had always abided with society’s expectations of women. I tried to fit into these minute boxes that tell women how skinny they should be or how they should conduct themselves. I would always feel guilty for eating one biscuit, dashing to the nearest gym in the hope that I could run off all the calories I had just consumed. Yes, that was after one biscuit. I was a conformist. I wanted to be what society wanted me to be. With lockdown bringing the world to a halt and overturning all that was normal, I finally realised that this was not healthy, that this was, in fact, not normal.
Lockdown has made me an emotional wreck, with mood swings moving faster than my feet when I hear the local bakery is giving away free scones. One day I feel like I have my life together, the next I am crying at a heart-warming rendition of ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)’ on How I Met Your Mother.
Throughout my time in lockdown I have seen an outburst of women on social media advocating female rights. The number of inspirational quotes I have been reading on a daily basis is surely enough to write a whole novel about. It has shown me that I am not alone, that we, as women, are not alone.
At first, I was baffled at the wildness of my emotions, how they were constantly adapting by the hour: how one minute I was happily reading a book then the next a dark grey cloud had entered and I would experience a sudden outburst of anger. But then it dawned on me. Lockdown is not a normal situation, far from it, and that it is actually okay to feel this way.
We now have so much more time on our hands, more time to be spending with ourselves and the thoughts that can haunt us. One thought that continuously churning around my brain is the fact that I have not hugged another soul in nine weeks. Nine weeks without physical human contact. As a woman, I am so used to sharing this small ounce of love that comes from just one hug, but now I cannot even have that.
And just like that, it was as though a switch had been clicked. Tear after tear rolled down my cheeks, but instead of scowling like I usually would, I was laughing. Look at me, I thought. I am actually crying. It was like everything that I had been bottling up over the years had finally broken the dam and could no longer be contained.
For far too long society has created and moulded a stereotypical image of female emotions. It is too often linked with hormones, PMS, and menstruation, viewed as a negative result of our bodies just doing their thing. Society has programmed us into believing emotions obstruct clarity and rational thinking. Even I have been guilty of convincing myself that ‘I was just overreacting’. But emotions do not, and should not, have to have such negative connotations surrounding them. Through these reactions spark a certain kind of passion, a passion we can mould and tame to fight for what truly means something. Why are our emotions lacking a clear sense of autonomy? Why do we allow their scrutiny by such a patriarchal system?
We as a human race need to feel, we need to express what is going on inside, it is such a beautiful part of our nature.
Throughout my time in lockdown I have seen an outburst of women on social media advocating female rights. The number of inspirational quotes I have been reading on a daily basis is surely enough to write a whole novel about. It has shown me that I am not alone, that we, as women, are not alone. Despite current physical restrictions, women are stronger than ever. We are supporting each other through this difficult time, offering a shoulder to cry on (figuratively of course) and supportive guidance.
Being in lockdown has taught me that the relationship I have had with myself for most of my life has been rather harmful. By not allowing my emotions to flow I have been hurting myself. We as a human race need to feel, we need to express what is going on inside, it is such a beautiful part of our nature. We were created to nurture our loved ones, to hold them close. Why can this not be the case with ourselves?
As I am coming up to my ninth week in lockdown, I have certainly seen a change in myself. I would be lying if I said a part of me did not run a hundred questions through my brain every time I wanted to cry, but I have now learnt to switch those voices off, those voices of hate and control, to just let myself cry. And that is okay. Crying allows us to discover something new, it allows us to strengthen the relationship we have with ourselves. We should no longer have to face society’s ruthless control over us dictating what is normal, because that in itself is not normal