Raw Emotion

So there I sat in the office chair at my messy desk, which is really more of a “clothing that I was thinking about wearing this morning” disposal than a desk at this point. My door was closed and I live in a suite/apartment, yet I could hear the sound of my roommate on the phone with her boyfriend in her bedroom on the other side of the suite.  I could tell she was talking through the veil of a high pitched whine, but I couldn’t tell if she was crying or laughing. We are close friends and I have heard her go into this sort of high pitched cry-laughing tone before, so I was willing to believe that she was laughing.

But unfortunately, I am a person who will always think the worst. I think small symptoms are diseases, I think people who don’t respond to texts are dead, and if I hear something that sounds like crying, I begin to convince myself that it is crying. I started wondering if her boyfriend broke up with her or if some tragic event happened. A few hours later, when I walked into the living room, she was still on the phone and her tone seemed somewhere between neutral and energetic. She is, however, an energetic person whose talking habits parallel that quality (probably why we’re friends), so I wasn’t quite convinced everything was okay. I went to my room and continued to do my homework until she knocked on my bedroom door to chat. When she entered, I asked her about it and as you may have guessed, she had been laughing.

This got me thinking about how interesting it is that hysterical laughter and hysterical crying can be easily confused by a distant bystander who hears it without any context. Sometimes even when I am in the room with a parent, I burst out in laughter only to get an immediate turn of my parent’s head and an “Are you okay?”, to which I respond “Yeah, I was laughing”. What do these two actions have in common? Well, yes, hysteria, but also the fact that they are expressions of raw emotion. They are actions that one cannot hold back on account of being completely overcome with an emotion.

It’s pretty interesting how two opposing emotions have such similar ways of being expressed, but I’m equally interested in the fact that expressing emotions publicly is met with such different reactions from society. When was the last time you saw someone hysterically cry in public? Probably not for a while because crying in public is taboo. But laughing in public is celebrated. It’s what you do to impress someone you like, to show the enjoyment you are having with friends, even to pose in a picture to look like a “free spirit” and get a bunch of Facebook comments telling you you’re cute.  This is all a little ironic when you think about the fact that when expressing emotions on a smaller scale, complaints are more common and perhaps even more celebrated than expressions of happiness. So I guess I should be glad that laughing is condoned more than crying in public, since at least society is emphasizing the positives in life. However, I can’t help but feel that we would all lead healthier lives if we were just able to express what we were feeling, both the good and the bad. Life has ups and downs and you can’t fully enjoy the ups unless you submerge yourself in the downs. Bottling up emotions is never healthy. That’s all for today!

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