I’ve been talking more lately, and not because I’ve been feeling chatty. I’ve realized how much I’ve kept under wraps and repressed to keep the peace and to just get along. Frankly, it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever done to myself. Silencing myself has been a huge burden. I’ve been grieving. I’ve been healing. I’ve been shouldering some difficult situations that don’t have easy answers.
There’s a lot of good too, but I’ve realized in the past week that not all silence is golden. Not all silence heals. Sometimes, you have tell someone what you feel. We all want to “look our best” at the expense of feeling our best and fessing up that there may be some issues.
One of the biggest things on my mind and my heart this week is remembering Fortuna. She was diagnosed this time last year of renal lymphoma and in April, almost four months to the day later, she died. Her death and issues around her death had me in a deep state of shock and denial. I told few people she had actually passed. I loved her so much and I couldn’t speak about her without being immobilized by grief, pain and anger. Cancer is a cruel disease and some of the circumstances I dealt with peripherally didn’t help either. I’ve been having a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help raise funds for research to help both people and pets who are suffering from this rare disease. I still tear up each time I post about the fundraiser. It’s okay. Better a thousand tears than a mess of hardened, bottled up feelings.
Tuna was naturally very expressive. She always would tell you what she wanted. You didn’t have to guess. She was not coy. She didn’t hide what she thought. So much of what is hurtful and damaging grows in silence. We don’t acknowledge something someone said or did hurt and then it just becomes part of us somehow. My silence magnified my pain. I was getting harder and harsher as time went by because I was really angry. I was angry at cancer for killing her and turned some of that anger on myself.
I am doing better now. The tears are still there, but the what-ifs or what-could-I-have-done-betters are now mostly gone. I got to a point of surrender–and if you know me, surrender is not an easy thing. I’m used to winning.. I expect myself to overcome. The word “surrender” is not a go-to for me, but it has been lately. I’ve surrendered some of my pain, some of my angst by talking about it. Talking about her life and her suffering has helped heal some of mine.
If you have something that’s burdening you, please get some help. “Suffering in silence” may seem noble, but it can hurt too. It can make your pain greater. We all have problems to face and once you get in the habit of airing them out, the problems become more manageable.
Silence is not always golden, but the love in our hearts is. Speaking from the heart, even when it’s inconvenient, will always serve you better than pushing your feelings down. I miss Tuna every day. I miss her honest green eyes. She not only saw people; she saw through them. I miss they way she chewed my hair. I missed her demanding things of me as a matter of course. Today and every day, ask you if your attitude of “put up and shut up” is really serving you, or if you may be hiding something you really need to heal. Today, I am still healing from my loss of Tuna.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you for caring.
Follow Actress & Producer Kristin West on her adventures, whether on a movie set, at a film festival or on her travels.