When Jon told me he was doing a reading with writer Rita Mae Brown, I had to Google her to find out who she was. One of my favorite things in life is having expectations of someone and the surprise that comes when I find out I’m wrong. I got the facts from Google, but they don’t come close to the real person. She’s warm, intelligent,controversial, charismatic, and funny. You would have thought that Jon and Rita Mae were old friends the way they interacted, it was an exciting and stimulating evening.
One of the many things Rita Mae Brown talked about was the idea of being disturbed emotionally. She talked about the importance of allowing ourselves to feel whatever it is we are feeling. That it’s not only okay, but important to be upset, angry,sad or as she put it emotionally disturbed. She said that means we have taken a chance, maybe made a mistake, and probably learned something important.
This really struck home, because Jon and I had visited the Holocaust Museum that afternoon. And because my emotions (especially lately) are very close to the surface. I’ve always cried easily, (once when I was a kid my mother caught my tears in a bowl at the kitchen table) but it’s just lately that I’m becoming comfortable with the idea that it’s okay. Crying is not a judgement of weakness or strength it’s simply one of the ways people express themselves.
So as soon as we walked into the Holocaust Museum, I felt the tears coming. As we approached the elevators, I began to cry. Jon asked If I’d rather not go any further. In the past I may have opted out, feeling embarrassed and vulnerable because of my tears. But I decided that not only was it okay to cry in the Holocaust Museum, it was appropriate. Sometimes it’s necessary and important to be emotionally disturbed.