In the early hours of Friday morning (1am, although I’m not quite sure) I left a club because I couldn’t stop crying. I had drunk far too much wine and I was far too tired and I hadn’t cried properly in about two months. They were hot tears and I couldn’t do anything but let them stream down my face, trying to look away from my friends, hoping the tears would stop and the night would carry on. But I couldn’t and eventually I had to say, in the kind of desperate way when you think you’re about to be sick or you feel trapped in somewhere, “I’m really sorry, but I just can’t stop crying.” And then it all came out and I did that ugly sob crying where you’re trying to catch your breath but it’s also an enormous relief to have such an outpour of emotion after a long period of stress and tension.
And in the busy smoking area of a club night in Leeds one of my best friends in the whole world took me in her arms and told me we were going home, and I cried some more and said okay and also “I love you”. We bought cheesy chips on the way and made cups of tea and got into bed and watched Sex and The City. I thought how lucky I was to have such an extraordinary friend and then, finally, we fell asleep.
It’s funny because the next day I felt quite deeply embarrassed about what had happened and spent a while cringing over the events of the night and now here I am writing publicly and in detail about it. But on the train from Leeds back to Cambridge, my hangover finally waning, I thought about how often I build up emotional expectations for myself and get confused when it doesn’t happen how I wanted it to.
I thought about how I say to myself that I will feel better, free or exceedingly happy when X happens, when I’m doing Y. I thought about how, because everyone else always looks like they’re having the time of their life on a night out, I must also be having a great time even when I probably should be tucked up in bed watching Netflix.
I thought about how we put pressure on ourselves to always be in a good mood, to always look like we are in a good mood even if we’re not. I thought about how unforgiving we are of “bad” emotions and never appreciate the fact that they are just as unpredictable and real as the “good” ones.
I thought about how I wanted that night to be exciting and endless and full of adventures. And I thought about how I couldn’t have predicted having an enormous cry on a night out in Leeds, but it happened, and it wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. But I felt relieved, and I felt loved, and now it’s just another story to tell. And it’s funny, isn’t it? Because that’s just exactly what I want life to be about.
This piece originally appeared on Mollie’s blog, The Fully Intended.