Crying. That taboo “C” word that people usually say quietly under their breath or hang their head just a bit lower so people won’t see them uttering such a socially unacceptable word. The act itself is best done alone, or at least in the privacy of one’s home, say most people. Take it to the streets and a national — if not global — epidemic is sure to develop.
Now, I’m obviously exaggerating here, friends, but I’ve been thinking about crying a lot these last few days. Maybe the holidays have tugged at my heartstrings one too many times this year. Maybe it’s because it’s hitting me that another year is dawning without my father. Who knows the reason, but I do know one thing: I’m not the sort of person who is ashamed to cry. At all, which is funny because my sister is the opposite. Growing up, I made my peace with crying at an early age. It was simply one way of expressing emotion for me. Sure, I suppose those trips to the hospital had something to do with it too, but I can’t help but feel like crying quickly became my security blanket — something to help me make sense of all that confusion.
Crying and I met again after my father died. I cried the most on the day he died; I suppose part of me didn’t know what else to do. There were people surrounding me the whole day, family and friends streaming in and out of our tiny apartment, but I didn’t care one bit if they saw tears rolling down my cheeks. In fact, it never even occurred to me to “put on a stoic face” for them. In the tug-of-war between modesty and emotional release, the latter won out.
And then when I struggled with depression, crying became almost like a reflex. It seemed like I cried over everything, and the littlest thing (like not being able to concentrate for very long) would just set me off. I felt utterly lost.
But crying, I soon found, had a hand in helping me find my way. A pretty big hand, actually. Because we all need to know that it’s OK to cry, don’t we? We need that reassurance that crying is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. Because sometimes, really, we just need to cry. No judgment. No questions. Just some time to cry…and a box of tissues and a spare shoulder.
How cool would it be if there was an advertising campaign encouraging you to cry? I imagine a giant Kleenex box with a tissue peeking out of it and the words, “Go ahead…cry” written on the tissue. Would that be awesome?
So, friends, I’d love to know: When was the last time you cried? Do you remember what it was about? What makes you cry? Do you find yourself crying a lot? Do you cry more or less as you get older? xoxo
P.S. Men and crying.
[Photos via Le Love]