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By Lisa Bondarenko – Mind Heart Body

Have you ever noticed when people cry in front of you they generally interject an, “I’m sorry” in amongst the tears? I see it all the time, the apology for being emotional, the embarrassment of being in “that” place of vulnerability in public and trying to control the tears that are uncontrollable. The GET ME OUT OF HERE moment!

A few weeks ago I had a personal experience with tears that I wouldn’t probably choose to repeat BUT it didn’t kill me or my reputation – why you perhaps ask? Because I seemed to be invisible!

It had been a tough 24 hours. You know those times where the waves of life crash all at once and you are crawling to your feet when another one hits? Well it was one of those. I had excused myself from my son’s music class with a fake excuse because I could feel the tears brewing. My son and I sat in the car (me still fighting back tears) before heading off to his doctors appointment.


As I walked into the medical clinic it was like something just broke, and I could no longer play the,  “I’m fine” card. I walked to the counter and the receptionists asked me my name. I began to sob…not cry…sob! I could not even pronounce my name!

She stared at me, so did everyone else in the line. I tried to gain control of my breathing but it was to no avail, she continued to stare and look away as did everyone else in the entire clinic. I spelt B. o. n d. and then heaving and hunched shoulders — it was not pretty. After what seemed like an eternity I got through my surname and made my way to the waiting area where the silent sobbing continued and pairs of eyes all around the room were darting back and forward.

Not one person asked me if I was ok, offered a tissue, a glass of water, or came near me. By the time I got into the doctors appointment, nothing had changed and the doctor clumsily started looking into my son’s ears as my mini hyperventilations were still active.  After both ears checked he FINALLY said, ”Are you upset about his ears” and then I stopped. And rage kicked in. I won’t tell you what I wanted to say, but I was indignant with his ridiculous approach. For goodness sake, as if I am that distressed about an ear infection!

I walked out without finalising my account, head held high, got in the car and made the fatal mistake of looking in the mirror. I was faced with mascara streaked across my forehead, earlobes and chest mixed with a soft hue of pale pink lipstick with hair stuck to my face — I looked BEYOND horrible. And for the first time in 24 hours, I laughed!

Now the moral to this post is simple, what have we constructed as a society, and community of human beings who cannot come to the aid of someone in distress? Why are tears such a barrier to connection? How does an entire medical clinic full of people NOT provide even the bare minimum of an, “Are you ok?”.

I think in theory everyone reading this post would say they would have come to my aid, but would you? Are you capable of sitting in the uncomfortable, the awkward, the messy, the vulnerable, the pain, and yes the snot-bubble mascara stained tears with confidence and grace?

For someone who is in pain, tears are quite literally an expression — a language in fact. I want to be the person who is ok with the ME in the medical clinic. No amount of tissues or words change the situation but the expression of, “I see you” has the power to equip and profoundly impact an individual.

Often people say to me, “I don’t know what to say like you, I’m not a counsellor!” My response is,  “It is not the counsellor in me who responds, it is the human in me and that is something we all have in common.”

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