I’ve always been a crier.
When I was a toddler, I cried anytime my mom dropped me off at a neighbor’s house or at preschool. When I was eight, I cried because I was afraid the house would set on fire while I was sleeping, or because my sister wanted to wear my favorite dress from the costume box. When I was a teenager, I cried because I didn’t get the part I wanted in the musical, or because the boy I loved asked a different girl to the dance, or because I was overwhelmed by all the weekend schoolwork I left until the last minute on Sunday night. When I was in college, I cried because my voice teacher forced me to sing a high A-flat for the first time, and because my roommate said mean things about me in the dorm lobby.
I still cry. All the time, in fact. I cry because I realize I’ll have to say goodbye to my incredible group of girls at the end of the school year. I cry because I don’t want to leave such an amazing workplace, even though I know I have to. I cry because I worry that I won’t have any friends after the school year is over. I cry because I’ve missed almost all of my little sister’s teenage milestones, living so far away. I cry because I sometimes think I wasted my adolescence trying to be perfect. I cry because I worry that I won’t have any cool stories to tell my future children. I cry when I see a perfect sleeping baby being pushed around in a stroller at the grocery store. I cry because I think about how lonely senior citizens must be once their spouses pass away. I cry because that stupid Sarah McLachlan commercial with the abused puppies comes on whenever I watch TV. I cry when I think about how empty the lives of reality show stars must be. I cry when I’ve worked 10 hours straight. I cry in the middle of the night when I wake up after having a really sad dream. I cry when my ’99 Chevy gets stuck in the snow. I cry when my music library is on shuffle and a particularly meaningful song starts playing. I cry for no reason, and then I cry harder because I don’t know why I’m crying.
(I’m currently trying NOT to cry as I sit here writing this, just because making the above list forced me to think about all those cry-inducing events. I think I’ve made my point.)
Luckily, a good crying session is usually all I need to feel better. At first, I usually get a little upset at myself for being such a baby and crying abut everything. Then, when I let it go and just give into the crying, everything starts to get better. I let myself sob for a bit, as loudly as I can, and then my body feels so much lighter. Like my problems have been solved, even though they usually haven’t. Unfortunately, I often feel the need to cry when I am in inappropriate locations: working the front desk of a residence hall, monitoring evening study hall, or in a staff meeting. And once I feel the need to cry, I can’t shake it. You know the feeling? Trying NOT to cry is legitimately painful for me. My throat starts to hurt, I have to squint my eyes to keep them from pouring out tears, and my voice gets all weird sounding. It’s almost more embarrassing than actually crying.
Some people would probably tell me to get a thicker skin, that crying about everything is juvenile, and I’m going to need to learn how to cope with my feelings in the real world. But I think crying is proof that I can feel. Yes, I’m an extremely emotional person, and I tend to wear my feelings on my sleeves. Yes, that can sometimes get exhausting or distracting or annoying to other people. And yes, I probably do need to work on my timing. (Like, I should aim to NOT tear up in the middle of a four hour desk shift and instead wait until I can get back to my room, fling myself onto my bed, and sob for 10 minutes.) But crying is a natural part of being human. Sometimes you need to release emotions in order to clear your mind. I actually feel bad for people who don’t allow themselves to cry. So if you’re one of them, don’t pity me the next time you see me sobbing in a corner. Chances are I’ll feel great after I’m done, and instead I’ll be pitying you because you weren’t having a sob-fest.