Tears are a tricky thing. They need to come with a manual of operation. You shed them too often, people get uncomfortable and assess your level of stability. You don’t shed them at the right moment, you may be viewed as cold. They arrive sometimes on the doorstep of your lids uninvited. Sometimes they push their way over the dam. Tears are interesting. It’s really the whole gamut of human emotion that accompanies tears I find interesting.
There was a point in life that I cried a lot. Prior to that, I only really cried if I was really sad or really angry. I guess I was both in this particular moment. I cried so much that one day I decided I was done with crying.
I’ve never been angry to the point of not crying. I just felt like it was dumb to cry anymore. I remember talking with a friend saying “tears are time wasted,” and she quoted a
I remember talking with a friend saying “tears are time wasted,” and she quoted a homie retorting, “Tears do nothing but wet your face.” That solidified it for me. I was done.
Years later, I’m ready to cry and can’t. I don’t even remember what it was, but I felt the moment needed a good cleansing cry and it wasn’t there. Do you know how horrible it is to want to cry, cleanse your soul, and not be able to?
See, a good cry for me is like a thunderstorm. It’s powerful, a little loud, rumbly, intense but when it’s over…the air is clear. You know lightning creates O3 in the air? That’s why the air feels and smells so fresh after a storm. That’s what I feel a good cry does for me…cleans the air and I couldn’t get it.
It felt like something was stuck in my chest. This went on for some time. I began to try to recall the last time I cried. I would get excited if I had a single tear, trying to coax more. Have you seen The Holiday with Cameron Diaz? She’s trying to cry and nothing happened? That was me.
Then, This Is Us happened. I. Love. This. Show.
I cried. Cried, cried and cried. I was surprised initially because I’ve never been one to cry over movies and, definitely not tv, but this seemed to be a new thing. Other movies that solicited tears are:
- Me Before You
- The Last Word
Just a few that I can think of right now. But This Is Us took me out the game every single week and I loved it. It made me feel. It chipped away at whatever was building up inside and allowed me to release it. I resonated with the characters and their stories and felt for these unreal people (though the stories and experiences are very real, even if they aren’t my story).
I allowed nothing to stand between me and the tv at that time. I even think I let another show fall on the Hulu list because I was not missing This Is Us! It was a cathartic, cleansing experience. It was even better that it aired in the middle of the week because I was able to continue with whatever situations I dealt with at work. I had fresh air. (I also have a couple of theories on how Jack dies and cannot wait for the shows return.)
After This Is Us, I felt good about the ability to cry and was adamant about not losing the ability to do so. Who cares that someone may think something particular about me crying. I must admit, there were a couple of situations where I held my tears but, otherwise, I was crying everywhere.
Kids. Kids will pull tears like nothing else. Why? Because they are so friggin’ cute! Actually, they remind me of innocence and fearlessness. They remind me to live. I remember crying watching SYTYCD season 13 with the babies. Yes, this was before This Is Us but the babies just pulled it out of me. Most recently, maybe the most embarrassing moment was in the mall.
The mall has a big open center in the middle. This is perfect for Christmas, Easter and any other event that comes because you can watch on that floor or from the second floor. This particular time, it was talent search. People of all ages signed up to be a model or part of some commercial. Their first audition was right there in the mall. Parents walked babies down the runway. Kids skipped and danced and recited lines and I stood in the food court hanging over the balcony with my mom and other spectators.
I cried on a couple of occasions right in the middle of the mall. I looked at my mom and exclaimed, “I don’t know why I’m crying! They’re so stinking cute!” Going back to emotions, it was a happy time but not necessarily a direct happiness. Nothing was happening to me. I didn’t know anyone that strutted, shuffled, skipped, spun, sang or waddled down that runway. But, I was ok with it. Why should I have to hide my emotions?
Why do feel the need to hide emotions? I know it is a defense mechanism to not show emotion. I have mastered a blank face. Equally, I don’t think I should hide them. Of course, there are levels of appropriateness but, showing emotion is ok. Society, parents, they tell us not to cry. It’s a sign of weakness or it’s unneccessary. Any child who lived in a house where you can get spanked have probably heard, “Stop crying before I give you something to cry about!” Excuse me, ma’am/sir, you’ve already achieved that particular objective.
I came to appreciate tears. I have shed them for friends. I have shed them for myself. I have shed them because I was so overwhelmed by the cutest of children. I don’t feel any less strong. In fact, I think showing emotion shows strength. A display of emotion is a display of vulnerability and it takes strong people to be vulnerable. So there. Having not been able to cry because I shut it off, I welcome the tears and emotions. I feel them, process them and find appropriate outlets to release them.
I encourage you to take a moment to stop and check how you feel. It can be easy to be too busy to feel. I’ve found myself on the too busy for emotions train which is crazy. Self-care requires self-assessment and self-alignment. Happy, angry, sad, scared, guilty, contrite…whatever it is, feel it. It’s ok.
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