Emotional Exhalation

This past Saturday, I wasn’t doing too well. I was on a fall youth retreat. I’d woken up alright, but things had started to go south around noon. Everyone was pissing me off, insecurities were getting the better of me, and I felt kind of washed out. As soon as there was free time, I found a picnic table and started writing in one of my many journals. It didn’t prove to be very helpful. There were too many people screaming and milling about for me to gain the full benefits of vent-writing. I decided to head back to my cabin.

Nobody else was in there. I sat down on one of the empty bottom bunks without a mattress (I didn’t want my dirty clothes to mess up my own bed) and immediately began to cry. It wasn’t a weepy, misty sort of cry; no, it was hearty and passionate. I emptied out my concerns to the cabin walls, to my own soul, to God. I was distressed, but there were no self-loathing thoughts in my mind. None. There was no hasty blame, stewing, plotting, or irrational thinking. It was pure emotion, clear and simple, in its truest form. After several cycles of cry-pray-think-cry, I fell asleep. I was sitting up, knees to my chest, head tucked in the crook of my elbow.

I have no idea how long I slept, but it must have been a while, because it was getting dark. I shook sleep out of my eyes and felt beautifully refreshed. Everything seemed paradoxically brighter in that dimming evening, and I wondered why I’d even felt insecure or shaky in the first place. It took me a few minutes to even process how much better I felt; I can honestly say that it felt like I’d been touched by magic. My anxieties of the moment were really just a result of exhaustion, overstimulation, and a lack of unstructured relaxation. All I needed was a little time to unwind and emotionally exhale.


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