It’s vital for my well-being to be free to love, but also vital is to be free to suffer. I grew up in a household built on a field of many dark emotions, my one parent purging his emotions violently, and the other parent holding in everyone’s emotions including her own. My mom is a pretty deep person. I don’t ever remember her yelling at me, or my sisters. But I am not quite sure if what she did was the best for my parents’ relationship.
What she didn’t know was that she had one sensitive child. She didn’t know that her child would be feeling all that’s going on in and around her. What she didn’t know was that the emotions can be transmitted like energy. What she didn’t know was that her suppressed emotions, especially the negative ones, would turn out to be more destructive than my dad’s outspoken anger, and sadness. I felt everything that was going on around the house. I felt extreme fear. I was being traumatized.
But I was just like my mama. I chose to suppress. I felt mom’s agony and deep sadness, and I chose to hold in my emotions as best as I could. I cried every night in my little room. I would wish upon a moon and cry when there’s yelling going on in the living room. Then soon, the roaring sound will die down, and I will be looking down the street dimly lit with the street light. My dad would be walking into the cold winter night without any coat on, drunk, staggering. I would watch him fading away from my sight, and I wouldn’t know what else to do other than crying and praying to this unknown God that I so desperately wanted to believe that He exists. 12 years later, I would meet that God. 12 years later, my desire to believe in God would be answered.
Finding my way back to love myself as a precious creature of God, and to love life as a gift from God was the most important journey God had led me on. But also important was to suffer freely without the concern of burdening those who love me. Watching your child going through depression is hard. Watching your spouse in so much unknown mental agony is very heavy. Because of the way I grew up, holding in the emotions so as not to create any more drama on top of already dramatic situation, it was a big burden to think that I was the cause of the grief and hardship of those that I love. That burden was even harder for me to bear than that mental pain I was carrying.
There in Hawaii, I was finally free to suffer and grieve for the first time in my life. I grieved my birth, I grieved my childhood. I grieved my failed marriage. I grieved my painful immigration. I grieved my depression. I was so free to suffer without any concerns, I made sure that I suffered to the full extent. If I caved into my little studio by the ocean and disappear into my gravely dark mood for a week, no one would even notice. If I have a panic attack in the middle of yoga practice, the fellow students would congratulate me for successfully purging my emotions. After all, that’s what we all want through yoga practice, that big release. They wouldn’t know that when they thought I was purging my emotions, I was actually suppressing the onset of my panic attack. They also wouldn’t know that panic attacks are very bad signs for me. It means that I am in the deepest, darkest, most dangerous part of my episode.
It’s okay to be honest about suffering. It’s okay to express pain and agony freely. Remember Job when he cursed in so much agony. Even job grieved and cursed. Sometimes the pain gets too extreme, and you just cannot endure any longer. You just got to break down and cry. And that’s okay. It just means that we are humans. That’s a beautiful fact, a beautiful destiny.
“Let the day of my birth be erased, and the night I was conceived. Let that day be turned to darkness. Let it be lost even to God on high and let no light shine on it. Let the darkness and utter gloom claim that day for its own. Let a black cloud overshadow it, and let the darkness terrify it. Let that night be blotted off the calendar, never again to be counted among the days of the year, never again to appear among the months. Let that night be childless,. Let it have no joy. Let those who are experts at cursing- whose cursing could rouse Leviathan– curse that day. Let its morning stars remain dark. Let it hope for light, but in vain; may it never see the morning light. Curse that day for failing to shut my mother’s womb, for letting me be born to see all this trouble(Job 3:3-10).”
But we know what happened to Job after he endured all the sufferings. He was blessed much. So after much suffering, I, too, was resurrected. And I was raised up from the dark, in order to love much. I know what happens after much suffering. Now I am just waiting to find out what happens after much loving.