Do you remember the last time you cried? I’ve shred a few tears over some petty frustrations, but the last time I had a good cry — you know, the kind that wells up from the depths of your stomach and unleashes a flood of never-ending tears — was during the throes of my depression close to five years ago.
I still remember the terror I’d feel when those tears would come on because I felt so out of control. I had no idea where these feelings were coming from, but I was sure of one thing: I couldn’t stop them. They raged through me with a force I’d never experienced before. They demanded to be felt and to be heard and to be given some sort of voice, no matter how little. So I cried. And cried. And cried. I hadn’t cried that much since my father’s suicide. Crying has a sneaky way of making you feel like you’re out of control; it’s almost like you’re on a high-speed merry-go-round that you’re stuck on. Crying hijacks your heart and preys on your emotions.
Maybe that’s why I started to feel weak. From a young age, we’re told that crying is the ultimate sign of weakness. We’re discouraged from crying, told to “man up” and “get control” before our emotions get the best of us for good. The last thing we ever want to feel is vulnerable, so we try so hard to keep holding onto that control. Sometimes we can even trick ourselves into believing that we’ve somehow mastered the art of not crying, as if it was a prize of sorts. Not crying becomes a badge of honor, and we want to wear it proudly.
But here’s the catch: We can’t keep this sort of strength up forever. The pace becomes even more exhausting than the crying itself. You can’t run. You have to face it. Head-on and with all the fearlessness you can muster.
My mom has given me some of the best advice about crying, especially in the first couple years after my father’s suicide. She’d always say, “Sometimes it takes more courage to cry. Crying is a sign of strength, not weakness.”
She’s exactly right, don’t you think? Have your views on crying changed over the years? Do you allow yourself to be vulnerable? I know I’ve said this before, but I’m so grateful for this amazing community. Thank you, friends, for always letting me be vulnerable, and I hope you’re never afraid to share your feelings as well… xoxo