Actually, don’t. Don’t scream it out.
I rode my bike today to a fusion class at MISFITSTUDIO (side note: it’s December 6th! This is some sort of weather miracle here in Toronto! Or really: global warming.). As I waited for a light to change at the top of my street, I noticed a woman screaming. I live in Parkdale in Toronto. A neighbourhood that is as varied as it can get and one that gives you the opportunity to meet some interesting people. This woman was literally screaming. A scream that came from deep inside and she was belting it out. Just letting it rip. She would scream for a number of seconds. Then stop. Then do it again. A person would walk by and without blinking, she would scream right at them, staring into their face. I watched her for a while but then as she approached me, I looked up at the streetlight willing it to change and give me a green. Instead of screaming at me, she calmly, like any ol’ regular person, asked me what the time was. I told her I didn’t know as I didn’t have a watch on. She then asked if I would give her some money. I told her I couldn’t. She asked why and my reply was simply that I didn’t have any on me, which was 100% true. She seemed fine with my answers, turned her back to me and continued with her screaming as a couple walked by.
In a way, I envied this woman. Just screaming it out with no shame, as though nothing mattered in the world. And I bet that it felt great. Imagine, freely just letting out a scream at the loudest volume that you are capable of. What bliss. At least in a way.
But the thing is, while it would feel good in that moment, all that screaming would not actually result in much – besides likely leaving you feeling exhausted. This is much like feeling down and taking it out by eating an entire chocolate cake. Because once the screaming is done and the cake is eaten, whatever you are mad at, whatever things you are currently battling, they are still going to be there. And all that you have gained from all that commotion is likely a loss of voice and the consumption of a lot of extra calories that was entirely unnecessary.
This living a human adult life is a tough one and everyday we face some tough issues. Tough choices. A lot of them are out of our control. But I can bet that a lot more are of our own doing. Life is tough. Relationships are tough. Choosing to make changes in life is tough. And while it seems like a great idea to just scream it out, to just eat your feelings, to just turn your back and pretend the issues don’t exist, in the long run that behaviour won’t work. You’re going to continue carrying these issues with you for your entire life. The more issues, the more drama you carry, the heavier you get. The more weighed down you get, the more you miss out on other things because you are no longer able to keep your head up for the weight is that great.
All of this is true, unless you choose to tackle the issues head-on. This is something that I am learning and working hard at my age of thirty-six. Because I don’t want to carry the weight of problems. I don’t want to carry other people’s issues. I want to wake each day with as clear of a head as possible and I want to be able to carve out an awesome bright future as a result of that.
And don’t get me wrong, I am no different than you. There are many people right now who I would love to deliver knuckle sandwiches to but I won’t because I know better. Because that kind of delivery won’t fix the underlying issue.
So for you and for me, the next time, instead of screaming it out, eating that cake or firing off a stern email without having another set of eyes to read it, find another facet to get rid of the burning feelings you have going on. Write them out in a journal. Work it out on a mat with pilates or yoga. Go for a walk. Turn on some music LOUD and dance it out. Take a break. Let things settle in your mind. Sit with them, find your feelings amongst them and then determine the best way forward. Then go back to the issue, with a more clear mind and tackle the issue. Are you having an issue with a specific person? Phone them, meet them for coffee, talk it out. Don’t send that email telling them they are awful. Don’t start yelling and slamming doors. Work it out. Talk it out. Feeling lost without a clue of what to do? Ask for help. Be vulnerable and let those around you into your inner world. Feeling scared? I’m scared too. I bet we all are. The more conversations and honesty we can have with one another, the more beautiful and rich all of our lives will be.
So think twice about screaming, getting angry, acting out, using strong words without thinking. Step away, give it some time and then go back to tackle things in a better way. Let’s be kind to one another. You may be battling something big but you have no idea what else your neighbour is currently fighting. Let’s be in this together.
In case you need further incentive, I want to remind you of how short this beautiful life is. When we get caught up in petty issues, we seem to forget how lucky we are to have this day. About a month ago, an old friend of mine passed away from ALS. Chris and I studied photography together at University and he was one of the kindest and most positive people I have met. Even when he was diagnosed with ALS and as he continued to battle the disease for five years, his upbeat attitude never changed. He was thirty-six years old when he passed and he deserved so much more in this life. Let this be a reminder of how blessed the rest of us are with our health and our lives and let’s hold that close to our hearts when we get distracted by issues that in the grand scheme of life likely don’t matter. If you want to see more about Chris and his life, please visit this link. It’s a heartbreaking video that really sends the message home. Life is precious.