My Give a Dam is Busted

Nope. Not a typo in that sentence. My give a DAM is busted. Let me explain, then you can tell me if yours is too.

The dam I’m referring too, is the dam I’ve built in my life. It’s one we all build in our lives. We build up walls to keep ourselves safe from things we don’t know how to handle and to protect us from people around us. However, those of us who tend to be emotional, build dams. We hold back our emotions. We strive to hide from society how we are feeling. We pretend we are ok when we really aren’t. When someone asks what is wrong, we say we are fine. We paste on our plastic mask of a smile or grin and try to hold back the tears. Yet there comes a point when our give a dam gets busted and the floodgates open and all those emotions come flooding out.

Then what. Do we close that floodgate back up? Do we pretend that we are only emotional here and there? People. We are not robots. Those dams don’t do us one ounce of good. Especially when the dam breaks at the most incovient time and there is nothing you can do to hold back this flood of emotions. Who in society decided it’s not ok to be HUMAN? I think it’s ok to have the dams as long as we know when to open manually the floodgates so that we can control our emotions.

I planned to write this blog this morning as my kids walked out the door. I realized the example I was leading was not a good one. I need to cry sometimes and they both need to know it’s ok. If I’m frustrated or angry. They need to see how I work through it. If I’m happy they need to know it’s ok to be silly or cry or laugh or whatever it is that comes with that particular brand of happy. They need to learn these tools so they don’t build that dam up and keep it closed to everyone around them. The need to learn how to open those floodgates. They need to know that there are people that do care and need to hear. That was made so much more evident when my daughter got home from school.

Ironically Em walks in the door from school. Goes to her routine of grab the kitty and the laptop for some down time and heads up to her room. Something was wrong though. There wasn’t a sparkle in her eye. There wasn’t a smile on her face, even though she tried. She didn’t seem ok. Yet, when I asked how school was… she responded fine with a shrug. I’d heard from the choir director at school and knew they’d had an AMAZING choir practice for the middle school choir. And I asked about it, knowing she loves choir so much, and she responded with a it was ok.

I gave her about 10 to 15 minutes to regroup and then I went and sat on her bed as she was playing minecraft.  I asked her if she was ok. And the floodgates in her dam broke. The sadness became defined. And while she needed to hold it together at school, she also needed to know it’s ok to come home and be upset. That it’s ok to let the emotions flow here. And then she asked if she handled the situation right.

Em is really having a rough go of it. She can’t get past the fact she was strong enough to hold herself together in the face of finding her voice and walk away from a girl that she counted on as a friend. And while she’s upset, she isn’t crying about it. And while I’m upset it happened, I’m proud of her for using her voice. In the scheme of things, it’s just girl stuff but here is a little 6th grade girl who was supposedly Em’s friend made Em sad. She told Em that she was ugly, laughed and then said just kidding. They were suppose to be friends. Em asked her to stop doing it and since she didn’t Em told her they can’t be friends. Em KNEW she couldn’t lose it at school so she socked all those emotions of sadness and disappointment, maybe even a touch of dispair, behind her dam walls.

Here is a girl who has vowed to not let her Autism own her. Rather owning her Autism and anxiety and not sure if she should have walked away. Wondering if she should have continued with this friendship or lashed out emotionally. She looks at me and then asks, “Did I do the right thing?” I asked her were you mean about it. She said no. I just asked her to please stop and when she laughed at me and said, “It’s JUST a joke.” I looked at her and said, “Then I guess we can’t be friends.” And I walked away.

Here she is putting the pieces of her dam back in place. And you know what? I’m ok with that. I told her that she’s a beautiful young lady. I told her, “You weren’t mean about it. You told her what you needed, using your voice, and you did what you needed to do for you.” I gave her a hug and then left her to do what she needs to do for herself. Regrouping and opening the floodgates of emotion.

So while my give a dam is busted. My floodgates are now manually controlled. I will show my children how to manage theirs as best as I can. There is always that exception to every rule. We all have buttons that can be pushed, but let’s quit hiding our emotions from our loved ones. Afterall, if we can’t be ourselves with them and trust them to understand… How can we trust them with our love?

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