It might shock you to know that I cry a lot. I am not even one little bit ashamed of it (anymore). Ironically, it goes hand in hand with the laughing a lot thing. As they say, it is both a blessing and a curse to feel things so deeply and I am not ashamed of it (anymore). Don’t forget that tears are not always reserved for sadness. I would need to borrow alot of fingers and toes to count the number of times I have cried happy tears. I’ll cry because I am tired, because somebody showed compassion to me, because I saw a beautiful view (the first time I saw the Southern Alps in NZ, or when I first saw falling snow), I will cry and laugh at the same time and I will very very often laugh so hard I cry!
Despite it actually being a good thing to do, crying has a bad rep, (perhaps like the dentist I guess?). Especially for men. Sure some men fully endorse a cry and then some men genuinely don’t need to. I wholeheartedly support both of these policies. What I am strongly opposed to is the cultural pressure for men to hold back the tears because it threatens their masculinity and that they are seen to be emotionally weaker because they seemingly cannot control it. What a load of bollocks! It should be the opposite, that you are strong enough to show what you stand for and that you have morals, strong values and you have things in life that matter enough to you. Without emotions, we are just robots and being a robot sounds like zero fun to me. We need to stop teaching kids that tears are for the weak and shouldn’t be shared in front of people. What is possibly so threatening about a little drop of water sneaking out of your eye and rolling down your face?
Sure, not all tears are positive. Tears flow for sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes horrific, sometimes brutal reasons and nobody should have to experience that. They do also make us feel vulnerable because they are raw emotion and that’s very exposing. I also won’t say the big old howling, can’t breath, eyes get so puffy they almost close over kind of cry is my go to activity for lols and good times, but ‘they’ do say that most (a massive 9 out of 10) people feel better after a cry. When I say ‘they’ I mean the science-y and researcher-y ‘they’ and ‘they’ sure sound like they know that ‘they’ are talking about.
I have cried and cried and cried (in a huffy, puffy, hyperventilate-ry way) so much that there is literally nothing left. (Unfortunately it was not for the sake of research, but I don’t need to justify the reason either!!) After what feels like a flood of tears that go on so long that my audience start looking around for supplies to build an arc, finally when there is not one more tear, huff, quivering lip or sigh left, I can usually say, I feel better. Sure it won’t have fixed the problem, but it doesn’t feel as big anymore. Maybe it’s down to emotional release (as good old cliché ‘they’ say tears wash away the pain) or just exhaustion, but either way, what a magical power tears seem to have and I can’t see how holding that in could be good for you!
One of the things that makes me giggle is when people confess (or I just ask them) the seemingly ridiculous reasons they cry. I’m not just talking cutting onions, but something silly like losing it because you didn’t have enough silver tinsel to cover all of the Christmas tree and the red just doesn’t go with the purple or because your big sister called shotgun on the front seat of the car faster than you… You know, the big issues in life!
One of my best was that I cried because it was windy at the beach. I’m not just talking a little boo-hoo, fairly passive little disappointed tear. I lost it completely. Apparently I had been looking forward to the beach and all it’s sunny, calm, salt water curing all wounds kind of glory all week and my life was completely ruined by the wind. You would have thought somebody cut off my arm from the way I was reacting. I think it was a long nap helped me more than the cry that day.
So, my wish for you is that you don’t have enough fingers and toes to count your happy tears and I hope they are the ones where you laugh and cry so much that you cant even remember why you are laughing and crying. I also hope you don’t have tears of grief or heartbreak, but if you must or need to, take the advice of someone more credible than me and never be ashamed!