Emotionally disturbed

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.

18 thoughts on “Emotionally disturbed

  1. Hi Maria, So glad to hear about Rita Mae Brown.(in person.) I googled her too! Found one of her books I’d love to read. I love this sketch. Another priceless moment with your Mom catching your tears.
    You were very strong to go through the Holocaust Museum. I know I couldn’t do that right now. Disturbances of our emotions are normal and healthy.Sometimes we just have to give ourselves permission to just be.Sounds like Rita Mae Brown was inspirational.
    Have a quiet and peaceful break between trips, Cindy
    PS: I hope you realize what a good writer you are!

  2. Isn’t she great? Did you take any pictures? If so, post them. I’ve not seen Rita Mae in person in many years……

  3. That is just perfect. I think it is so cool that you are creating images with your sewing machine because your sketches have SO much emotion and this seems to be a great way to put them out there. Your life in quilt squares. I cry a lot too. It is hard not to see tears as weakness. It’s just what we are taught. Doesn’t make it right.

  4. Hello Maria…I recently discovered your blog, and Jon’s, and I’m grateful for both. This post of yours really spoke to me. I’m an emotional woman too, but I always either apologize for my emotions or feel like a loser because I have negative feelings. Thanks for giving me the permission to be ’emotionally disturbed’ and FEEL!

  5. Maria, artistic, sensitive people feel things more intently. The more I spend time with horses, and dogs the more I can be real with my feelings and emotions. All this translates into tangible things like artistic expressions.

    It’s fine to be emotionally disturbed, because we can make ourselves physically sick by internalizing intense emotions and suppressing them just because of someone elses hangups about expressing something.

    I’ve not been to the Holocaust Museum. Not sure I could stand it. I’ve been reading more about the history that allowed that to happen.

  6. Geez Maria, I agree with you that it’s ok to cry. I cried just reading you post today. Shows you what a weenie I am! 🙂

  7. I think you were extremely strong to go through the Holocaust Museum. I do not think I could do it.
    From what I am reading I think a Book Tour is grueling and I think you and Izzy are holding up very well. Hope you get a break soon though.

  8. Hear! Hear! Maria! Sometimes it is absolutely appropriate to cry. Sometimes you just need to get it out. Why do we treat people like they are crazy when they fail to pretend like everything is fine? Sometimes it’s just not.

  9. Maria, I just found your blog on the Bedlam site. Thank you for this post. It’s very beautiful, both in sentiment and in expression of that. I was raised to believe that crying was shameful – a sign of weakness. It took me a very long time to learn that there’s nothing wrong with weakness – with needing a soft place to fall once in awhile. We all need that at some point, we’re only human.

  10. I just spent this past Saturday at the Holocaust Museum. When you enter the museum you are given an identification card of a person who lived through the holocaust. You carry this through the exhibit and follow what happened to them. Approaching the elevators to go to the exhibit my eyes welled with tears in expectation of the emotions I knew I would experience.
    I can’t imagine not expressing how you feel. It’s what makes us all human and allows us to share in the human condition. Please Maria, be kind to yourself.

    1. I too was so moved by the identification card. I just couldn’t look at mine till I got back to the hotel. When I did, I saw her name was Maria.

  11. Maria – It is so important that we feel. Your reaction in the Holocaust museum is appropriate, and necessary. We should not turn away from the atrocities of life, because of tears. It is those expressions of emotion that keep us from becoming monsters .

    I had the privilege several years ago to go into the Holocaust museum with a survivor and with deep admiration and respect for those he left behind, he told their stories (and his own). It was something that I will take with me everywhere I go. I will never forget that experience, and will forever be changed. It is good that we cry, and not go mad with the ugliness of life. That we also laugh and find the beauty. That we continue to love, and find peace. No matter our religion, no matter the color of our skin, no matter…we share the human experience.

  12. I can’t imagine anyone going to the Holocaust Museum and NOT crying! I’m glad you stayed and allowed yourself to just feel what you felt and let it come out in whatever way it would. I’ve always been very affected by the Holocaust (I can’t imagine not being so, frankly), and I once had someone ask me why, because “After all, you’re not even Jewish?” Well, no, but I’m a human being, and the suffering, death, and essential extermination of six million people affects me, no matter that they were not of my race or had religious beliefs.

    Also glad that you were with someone who was sensitive to how you were feeling and offered you the support to opt out if you so chose.

    Wishing all of you in Bedlam a joyous and creative holiday!

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