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is it okay: to cry?

woman crying
It’s all very simple. If someone is crying, then they are sad. Or really happy. Or relieved. Or in pain. Possibly they’re just really empathetic towards that other person who is crying. Maybe they just ate something spicy. Actually, take back what I originally said. Crying is confusing and I have no idea what is going on either with other people or with me.

I cry for a multitude of reasons. Whilst I would by no means describe myself as a volatile weepy individual ready to rain tears on the world at the drop of a hat, there is the slight possibility that if aforementioned hat is filmed, put on a screen and framed by emotionally manipulative background music and soft filters, tears may just follow.

Most of my crying happens in private. The triggers are many and varied, and, if only opportunity would allow, I would love to have a sit down with the filters in my mind and ask them quite seriously ‘hey, what is up with allowing me to cry borderline hysterically during The Princess and the Frog, and yet remain dry eyed at every funeral I have ever attended?’

Maybe I should have made my topic this week: “Is it ok: to not cry?”

I have cried reading the news, watching countless movies, and even watching The Biggest Loser. I have sat in front of my computer, tears streaming down my teenage face while sending happy emoticons over msn, trying to pretend that I was totally cool hearing about how into someone else the guy I’d set my heart on was. I probably even cried when I found out my braces weren’t coming off until the week after the formal (then likely proceeding to blast the ironically un-ironic Ironic by Alanis Morissette).

It makes me feel bad in hindsight, like my tears have been cheapened. They are supposed to be reserved for bereavement and extreme emotions. Glistening eyes should be accessorised with black clothes and bleak expressions. The only background music that can accompany them is that played by a string quartet.

Sitting at the funeral of someone I really cared about, I felt like a failure because I wasn’t crying. The man three seats over was a mess, and I was in a bubble of detachment from reality. I was sad, but also somewhat unable to believe that the coffin at the front of the room really held a person who had once gone to libraries with me and had taken an interest in my life. My lack of tears felt like a spotlight held over me, telling the world that I didn’t care. I may as well have been yawning or playing a Gameboy.

The big mistake is to think of it as creating a “greater than” scenario which just simply isn’t true.  Crying isn’t a measure of your emotions, so my mind isn’t telling me that the sadness associated with the loss of a loved one is less than Beast’s grief over losing Belle in Beauty and the Beast. A lot of the time I think that crying is done about less important things so as to not let ourselves or others know the full gravity of how much the truly sad things are affecting us.

Instead of crying at her funeral, I found myself in tears two months later, staring at a battered copy of Watership Down. I’d promised to read it and hadn’t.

Some sadness is too big for tears. So, instead, they get rationed out through a complex filtration and plumbing system which has valves in the strangest of places. It is ok to cry. It is also ok to cry because a puppy is just so unbelievably cute and yet homeless. Most importantly however, it is ok to not cry, because feelings are first and foremost for yourself and not for the interpretation of others.

One thought on “is it okay: to cry?

  1. I had a cry was not because I was sad but due to a build up of tension ( relationship issues) that needed an outlet.. I have to say I felt much better afterwards. Sometimes I think that is their purpose.. to relieve the pressure we put ourselves under. It was good to read this article, thank you

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