I have recently realized that I seriously don’t know how to comfort people. If I see a baby crying with his little pudgy arms open, I totally freak out. First I think what did I do to make the baby cry. Then I start thinking what do I do with this kid? Lastly, I start looking for his mother with an awkward holding the baby three feet away from my body with my head turning left and right searching for the mother.

This isn’t normal. I know that something is really wrong with me.

Normal people would just hug the baby, or the more daring person, would check the diaper. But me, I’m looking for the big hand-off. I obviously broke the child and let’s face it, I need an adult, so someone else needs to come along and fix this.

But it isn’t just children that I am completely incapable of giving the right comfort to; I find that I do the same type of things with people I care about.

If one of my friends starts crying, in my head, a million things start flying around. I will immediately think I did something. Even if my friend just told me her cat died and her car was stolen, I was start thinking, “did I ever pet the cat?” and “did I forget to lock the door four weeks ago when she drove me to the mall?”

In my head, if you are crying around me, then obviously I did something.

It’s messed up, but trust me, my mind warps things further.

After the initial attack of tears happen and I am assured that I didn’t do anything wrong, then I go into the “Ms Fix-It” mode. However, I don’t know what to do. Is this where I hug you? Do I show you my boob now? Should I make another dumb humorless joke? Or is this where I insert some typical quote?

I have no idea what to do and then my fear of making you worse causes me to make it worse. I just stand there looking at you like a deer caught in headlights. I am frozen by my own mind.

Again, I swear that most people do not have this problem. Some people are great at saying the right things and making all the boo-boos go away. But I am just not one of them. I do have a few theories as to why I am comfort-ly retarded.

Theory One: My mom always told me that women don’t cry in public. So at my dad’s funeral, I made her laugh the whole time. If just one of her eyes starting to get a bit misty, I went into stand-up comedian mode. I should have just given my mother a hug and let her tears wash down on me. However, I tried to force her feelings away and I now know that was a big mistake.

Theory Two: When my mother did die, I was afraid to show emotion. I remember when I was in the church and right to my left was her coffin, I kept thinking that inside that box was my mother. I was using my mental abacus to click away all the things she would never see me do. I should have been bawling my eyes out, yet I stood there and grabbed onto that pew as if I were trying to break it in half Hulk-style. Someone reached over and tried to put his hand on mine and I shot my hand up off that pew so quickly I think I slapped myself in the face. The whole time this was happening I kept hearing in my head that no one was allowed to see me cry.

I don’t know how to accept comfort. Even to this day, if I am in a huge crying rage, I will run and hide until it is over. I can’t show people I am weak (even though logically I know that it takes a stronger person to show emotions).

Theory Three: For those of you who have been with me for a while, then you know the story of my “trucking breakdown.” I’ll recap it for those who are new here. So, it was a few months after my mother’s death and in my typical fashion, I didn’t want to deal with it. We all know that the body has a way of making us deal with things and my body is no different. One day, I was severally sleep deprived and hungry. My tears came down and for a good four hours they didn’t stop. I cried for everything in those hours. All the things I lost and all the things my parents wouldn’t see me do came out of my mind and fell down in tears. My lost childhood splashed down along with my unwillingness to become an adult.

It was an awful day.

But what made it worse was that in the car with me was someone who, and this would be there words and not mine, hated pretending that they weren’t bored by my tears. Now, before you get all pissy, I would like you to all understand that while that is an unbelievable dick thing to say to someone, I do forgive this person. No one knows what to do in that situation. I can’t fault that person for his or her thoughts.

What I do fault them on is making me feel so ashamed and weak because I was crying.

So, because of that shame I felt on that day and because I was always taught that crying was wrong…I don’t let people comfort me.

Because of that, I now don’t know how to comfort anyone else.

However, the good news is that I still don’t stop trying. I will stupidly ask if you want a hug (because if someone tried to hug me, I would probably slap them in the face ad if you hit me, tears or not, I’m throwing punches) or if you want to see my boob (who doesn’t like boobs…I mean really). Just understand that I have no idea what I am doing and I am so afraid of getting it wrong. I don’t want you to hate me along with being upset. So I do dumb things. Just know those dumb social hiccups come from a place of utter love and healing.

I just want to make you happy again. If I could, I would take all your pain and all your tears. I would then carry them for you. But I can’t because they are your tears and in those tears are your life lessons. All I can do is be there for you and listen to the things you need me to do for you.

I hope that is enough.

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