CULTURE

Sometimes Happiness Means Spontaneously Crying in the Middle of the Street

On living in a world that has normalized emotional suppression

Elizabeth Dawber
Ellemeno
Published in
9 min readJun 21, 2023

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Image source: Vecteezy

My hands shake as I grip the scissors. I try hard to steady them, not wanting to injure myself any more than I already have today. I take a deep breath and position the blades on either side of the cheap polyester work-issue trousers that cling to my swollen and bloody legs. Slowly, I cut along the fabric, while the incident that has put me in this situation plays out in my mind for the hundredth time. As the sharp, cold metal presses against my broken skin, my resolve to be strong wavers, and I can’t help but cry.

Earlier that day, a cyclist had ridden into the back of me and knocked me down on the footpath. It was early in the morning, the streets were empty except for us. He’d shouted that I should have been looking where I was going. Shouldn’t that be the other way around?

As he cycled away, I picked myself up off the ground, my palms, knees, and back throbbing in pain. I limped along the dark and deserted streets to the department store where I worked. When I arrived, my manager took one look at my tear-streaked face, bloody hands, and dirty trousers, and called the on-duty first-aider.

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Elizabeth Dawber
Ellemeno

English literature & creative writing grad | MWC semi-finalist | Former editor @ The Startup | I write about this thing called life | Human | Pen for hire |🇬🇧