succumbing to peer pressure

Monday, August 08, 2011

Bring on the tears

Crying is a bit of 'thing' with me. I've never seen a member of my immediate family do more than barely tear up (even at funerals and other equally emotional events) and crying was forbidden at gymnastics (the coach would yell, "Are you hurt?" and if the answer was no, the response was "Well then get yourself off the floor and get cleaned up."). So for most of my life I learned that crying was something you either didn't do, or if you absolutely couldn't prevent it, you did it somewhere in private. So now I'm virtually physically incapable of crying in front of someone. Even if I'm in actual physical pain, rarely will there be tears. And on those rare occasions, the act of crying in front of someone tends to freak me out way more than whatever sparked the tears in the first place.

And yet, crying is a tremendous, often wonderful, release. I tend to need a good cry when I'm stressed out, burned out, or otherwise worn thin (as I am increasingly often these days). So it's a shame that the impulse comes with such, well, shame.

Lo and behold, on a day when I needed a good cry, Dr. Isis, researcher extraordinaire, offered up these words of wisdom
The point is, sometimes some of us get overwhelmed and cry. Sometimes it's because of something in our personal lives. Sometimes it's because of something at work. Some of us are criers and some of us aren't. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail. And when we fail or get overwhelmed, it's fine to sit down and cry about it. As long as you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back to it afterward.
In comments someone else quotes Tina Fey: "Some people say 'Never let them see you cry.' I say, if you're so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone." I think it's that last part that I particularly dislike. People, and let's be honest, more often than not, male people, tend to freak out at the sight of a woman crying. And I know that plays at least some part in my reticence to just let it out - when a woman cries, in my experience, a man will do just about anything to get her to stop. And so the act of crying feels manipulative, like an ace up the sleeve, like some gross way to win an argument instead of just an honest release of pent up emotion.

Sigh. I'm glad Dr. Isis gave me permission to cry it out today. Maybe someday we can all have a better relationship to this unpleasant display that we're all in need of from time to time.